Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to get kids to play in their room - Holiday Toy Guide


EN: From time to time, I catch Nicky going very quiet... I would be in the kitchen prepping dinner, and then, all of a sudden - silence! Any mom knows silence means trouble!!! So I'd start calling his name, looking for him, preparing to see a giant mess, only to find him in his room, totally preoccupied. He'd give me one of his signature "I am busy, you may go now" looks and I would back away into the kitchen, feeling dumbfounded. Because he's only One! Does he know he's only one?! What can he possibly be doing in there that is keeping him so busy?

RU: Иногда я готовлю ужин и понимаю что в доме вдруг стало очень тихо. Любая мама знает - если тихо - беда! Я начинаю звать Николая, искать, ожидая увидеть очередной беспорядок, а вместо этого нахожу это чудо в его комнате, занятого игрушками. При этом он смотрит на меня выразительно, мол "иди, мам, по своим делам, не мешай", и я ухожу, в шоке от того, что он самостоятельно занят!!! Ведь ему всего годик!





EN: I put a lot of thought into Nicky's room. It's not exactly Pinterest-worthy and the furniture isn't the most expensive. He doesn't have that newest high-tech toys or fancy tchotchkes strategically placed to give it a Pottery Barn-cover vibe. Yet, it works for him. I observed him (mostly on the baby monitor) and tweaked it around his needs. I read about Montessori play area setup and browsed through countless Waldorf room photos for inspiration. And it paid off - Nicky runs into his room and starts playing, as I stand at the door, frozen in amazement with how engrossed he is.

RU: Я долго продумывала его комнату, наблюдая за его поведением. Она, конечно, не с обложки модного детского каталога, и мебель у него не самая дорогая, и игрушки не самые навороченные. Но его там все устраивает и он с удовольствием сидит у себя, играет, рассматривает книжки, строит пирамидки. И это намного важнее чем всякие цацки, картинки и украшения.



Here is what worked for us:

Put things where they want them
I like to pick a corner and set up camp in it, so that's what I did for my son - in the corner of his room I set up a shelf with toys, a mirror, a blanket and expected him to play. What actually happened is he would run out of the room instead. So after a while, I moved the shelf over in the middle of the room. One day, on the way to the door he noticed... toys! He stopped, he sat and he played.
Take some time to observe their behavior and adjust their play area accordingly.

Make it accessible
Kids are short people. So when organizing and decorating, sit on the floor and put things at a two-foot high eye level. Instead of making their room look cute for adult approval, make it kid-friendly. Hang art where they can see it, put toys where they can easily grab them, get furniture they can use on their own and so on.

Make it safe and fun
If you don't want your child playing (dropping and breaking) a porcelain piggy bank or a keepsake Tiffany frame, keep it out of their room. If them grabbing something will cause you to shriek and twitch - put it elsewhere. Make kids' room a "No-free zone" - meaning keep only the things that they can play with in there so you don't have to constantly supervise and say No! Let them do what they want there so they know they have their own space in the house.

Declutter 
The more the merrier does not apply to toys. Actually, more is more confusing, especially for smaller children. Keep their toys organized and spaced apart, so the child can focus on each item. 6 to 8 toys is more than enough. Keep them age appropriate and take the toy away when you notice your little one loose interest in it. No need to throw it out right away, rather keep it out of rotation and re-introduce it in a few weeks - it will spark brand new interest!

Give them space, but stay available.
If you want them to play on their own - leave! You've created the perfect space, you've bought all the great toys, you've showed them how they work. Now go!!! Seriously, go sit on the couch and do nothing for ten minutes!

Follow their lead.
Let the child show you what they want to play with and how they want to do it. Often times, adults get so into their kids toys that they forget who is supposed to be playing here. Let the kid have the Lego pieces and build you the fort, not the other way around!

Let there be a mess.
It's unavoidable. But a mess isn't always a bad thing. As long as it's safe and isn't damaging your house, let it be! If your child is happy and engaged, let them play and try to get them to help you clean up after (Wishful thinking!)

Simpler is more engaging.
Have you noticed how noise-making toys get old and boring for your little one quickly, but they can drag around the same one-eared bunny for years? That's because the bunny does absolutely nothing. Your child has to do all the work - come up with ideas what to do with it, talk to it, use their imagination. The key to engaging play is allowing them to come up with their own scripts for it, instead of providing one. Look for toys that spark imagination (creating, building, narrating) rather than give guidelines (i.e. push this button to make that noise)

Current Favorites:




Вот пару принципов, которыми я руководствовалась:

Подстраивайтесь под них.
Разложите игрушки так, как детям будет удобно, а не так как нравится Вам или как будет красиво смотреться. Ребенку все равно, подобрано ли все по цвету и какие картинки висят на стенах - если они будут слишком высоко, то он их даже не увидит. Расставляйте игрушки на доступном для малыша уровне и не захламляйте их комнату всякими сувенирчками и украшениями, которыми ребенку нельзя будет играть. Это - их комната, там место только их игрушкам. Сделайте так, чтобы Вам не приходилось все время стоять над чадом и говорить "не трогай", "нельзя", "положи на место". Если эту вещь трогать нельзя - перенесите ее в свою комнату.

Не захламляйте комнату.
Игрушек не должно быть много. От их изобилия ребенок не может остановиться на одной и выбегает из комнаты искать более просторное место. Расставьте игрушки так, чтобы между ними было достаточно пространства, чтобы детский глаз мог сфокусироваться на каждой из них. 6-8 игрушек вполне достаточно.

Выбирайте простые игрушки.
Почему всякие шумящие игрушки с множеством кнопочек наскучивают быстро, а с рваным зайкой с одним ухом Ваш малыш может не расставаться годами? Потому что зайка ничего не делает. Ребенку нужно самому придумывать как с ним играть, а это гораздо интереснее чем нажимать на кнопочку.

Выйдете.
Вы создали идеальное игровое пространство, наполнили его самыми замечательными игрушками. Теперь - выйдите и дайте ребенку самому играть! Он Вас позовет если что. Сядьте на дивам и посидите 10 минут!



Some toy ideas to help you find the perfect holiday gift for your little one:


Infant girl

5. Sock assortment  //  6. Ballerina shoes  //  7. Dress  //  8. Fashionista bodysuit  //
9. UGGs  //  10. Playmat  //  11. Ice cream sock gift set  //  12. Sneakers


Infant Boy

3.  Safety blanket  //  4. Floor Gym  //  
5. Blocks  //  6. Flash cards  //  7. Airplane blanket  // 8. Tuxedo Onesie  //

One year old

1. Blocks/books  //  2. Pyramid  // 3. Push cart  //
4. Stacking blocks  //  5. Oversized pyramid  //  6. Dancing toy  //
7. Ball Climber  //  8. Xylophone  //  9. Soft blocks  //

Toddler (18-36 mo)

1. Magnetic puzzle  //  2. Car  // 3. Latch board  // 4. Activity center  //
5. Animal zoo  //  6. Flash cards  //  7. Fire truck  //  8. Megablocks  //
9. Rocking horse  //  10. Little pony set  //  11. School bus  //  12. Bath time octopus   //


Little girl (3 years and up)

1. Piano  //  2. Elsa  //  3. Doll house  //
4. Clock  //  5. Kitchen  //
6. Castle  //  7. Cart  //  8. Roller coaster

 Little Boy (3 years and up)

1. Tool set  //  2. Spaceship  // 3. Puzzle  //
4. Watch  //  5. Magna-tiles  //  6. Easel  //

 Boys 6 years and up

1. Construction set   //  2. Meccano  //  3. Star wars robot  //
4. Magformers  //  5. Board game  //  6. Baseball game  //


Girls 6 years and up

1. Embroidery set  //  2. Bedding  //  3. Painting set  //
4. Microscope  //  5. Quilt making kit  //  6. Scrapbook //



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