"Please mummy, can we do a jigsaw?"
How can I say no to that? Well quite easily it turns out when I'm trying to cook the dinner, put the washing on and reply to all the messages I've missed. Sorry kids.
I'm a teacher but I was totally guilty of prioritising other things over learning together, kidding myself that nursery or school could do the whole education thing and we'd just have fun and play at home.
But the truth is I was missing the importance of doing educational activities together at home and the fact that learning can be playful and fun too.
And so this raises 2 fundamental questions...
Why bother with educational activities together?
How on earth do you make the time?
1. Why bother with educational activities together?
🤓Doing educational activities together helps your child to understand that learning can be a fun and positive experience.
🏡 Doing these educational activities together at home is a safe space to try things out, explore and sometimes make mistakes. And did you know, mistakes are really important in learning? Phew, right? :)
👩👧Having a set routine of joining educational activities means that you have guaranteed positive interactions and these can help deal with tantrums and whining. Yes, really - we explained it all here.
2. How can you make the time?
I'm not going to tell you I'm some time management guru, but I am a mum, and I can tell you what worked for me.
📆 Pick a Regular Slot
We always make time for swimming lessons and ballet every week. Why? Well, simply because there's a set slot for the classes and I'd already paid for them.
When I thought again about the importance of doing educational activities together I realised I needed to make a set time each week for that too.
I'm not talking about doing a quick jigsaw, which I could do for 5 minutes any time. I mean sitting down together for at least 45 minutes with my phone far away and actually interacting and talking about what we're doing. I decided to choose a Wednesday as I don't work on Wednesdays, but it could equally have been a weekend. Turns out once I had that slot, it just became an activity that I worked our day around.
✏️ Create a Plan
Realising it's Wednesday, I have nothing planned, and then spending the first 15 minutes of the phone-away slot desperately scouring Google and Pinterest for something I have all the equipment for and won't trash my entire house is not the best start to some quality time together.
Having a regular plan of what we'll do in that slot every week means it's easy to just get going.
Your plan could be a subscription box, a weekly class like Little STEAMers or a language class, a project that you return to, or if you have time some sort of rotating schedule (building, jigsaws, crafts etc.).
I'm not telling you that this is the only time your child should do anything educational all week. Of course not - educational opportunities are all around us, as I'll cover in a later blog (subscribe here). But carving out time to nurture a love of learning in your child will always be worth the effort in my opinion.
Oh, and it will also help with the mum guilt - that I can promise :)
If you'd ever like to try Little STEAMers educational classes you can join your first class for free to see how we do all the hard work for you.