Challenging your 2 year old can often seem like a challenge for you too! Often, your child can be challenged in the most simple of ways. Try thinking of everyday tasks and parts of your home routine that your child can help with. Introducing them to new aspects, concepts or finding different strategies is a new learning experience for them. Giving them time to process and understand these things really helps to cement their knowledge.
Children need the chance to learn by trial and error, plan and think ahead for activities, make independent choices, develop resilience, maintain concentration and solve their own problems. When these skills are apparent through their play; it shows their learning is effective.
Our toddler room team have created a list of everyday activities where they are able to challenge children in the simplest of ways. We would love you to share your thoughts and ideas too! Don’t forget, we have a great feature for Home Learning Observations, this would be the perfect place to share what you’re getting up to at home!
Does your child try pouring their own drinks at home?
In the toddler room, we have a free style water station for the children to pour their own drinks into an open top cup through the use of a water dispenser. They also get challenged further through the use of pouring from a jug. We encourage the children to ask for support from their practitioners if they need some help.
Does your child help to serve their own dinner?
In the toddler room, we encourage the children to self serve all of their meals e.g. snack, dinner, tea to ensure they are having a choice of what they would like. Also, this aids their independence skills and gives them a chance to interact with their peers and practitioners at the dinner table to talk about what they are having. We also encourage the children to use some simple makaton signs to request ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘more’, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
Do you use the commenting approach/narrate your child’s play at home?
In the toddler room, we use the commenting approach when interacting with all of the children by providing a narrative to what they are doing. For example, we recently did a painting activity. We ask the children a variety of different open ended questions to try and extend the children’s vocabulary. Furthermore, we also try to develop children’s early sounds and single words, such as “mix, mix, mix”, “dab, dab, dab”, “blue”, “splat”.
Have you tried emotion coaching your child when they are struggling to express how they are feeling?
In the toddler room, we do a lot of play around emotions and how we feel. We encourage the children to show us their facial expressions to tell us how they feel. Some children enjoy showing us the makaton signs for ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘angry’ etc.
Furthermore, if a child is struggling to express how they feel, we support them through this with ‘Emotion coaching’. Emotion Coaching uses moments of heightened emotion to guide and teach children about more effective responses, how to engage with their emotions and work through them in a safe way.
Through this, we also support children with effective intervention when they may experience heightened emotions of frustration. For this, we approach the child calmly, stopping any harmful actions, acknowledge the child’s feelings using simple descriptions, gestures, and signing as appropriate. Next, we will gather information from the child “it looks like the problem is..”, restate the problem using simple language such as “I see the problem is…”. We then provide ideas for solution and model appropriate solutions for the child. But also be prepared to give follow up support e.g. “you solved the problem”. Ensure to stay near them to ensure they have expressed how they feel.