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Sometimes, life is big, flashy, exciting, post-worthy. But most of the time, life, especially with littles, is pretty repetitive.
Lots of manners and social skills, toileting, hygiene, basic respect and self-control. Over. And over. And over.
It’s not flashy, not “Pinterest-worthy”, but it is so worthwhile.
I thought I’d share a few of our mini-milestones along the way.
1st time interacting with an abacus – they counted, sorted beads to one side or the other, and started grouping them by 2s. One of my favorite things about the Reggio Emilia philosophy, as I understand it at least, is that we don’t have to show our kids the “right way” to explore something like this. Instead, we can follow their leads and see where it takes us.
It may not look it, but a water fight (got these little squirters at the library summer reading program) actually involves sophisticated social interactions. (Can I spray you? Where is appropriate? When is enough? How do I ask for help?) Younger siblings are perfect partners for developing social skills. They accept you for who you are, don’t have preconceived notions of how it should be different, and are often working on similar skills themselves.
Screen time. Our kids’ screen time is extremely limited. None in the morning (unless we go somewhere like the auto mechanic like we’re doing tomorrow), and it will be immediately taken away if they treat each other unkindly or refuse to share (we have 1 family device). This incentivizes them working together and shows me what they are capable of when they’re motivated enough.
Discovery. The kids are slowly internalizing the language and methods we’re using, and it’s exciting. I filled an empty Voss water bottle (plastic) with a few water beads (aff) and some water, and the kids all interacted with it in different but meaningful ways. It was so rewarding to hear 3yo E verbalize, “I wonder what happens if I do __________”. That’s what we want – for our kids to think through possibilities and outcomes and then trust themselves to see what’s next (within safe boundaries, of course).
Chalkboards doors. I love these. It’s the Contact brand chalkboard paper (aff) – and for about $10 I had multiple writing surfaces covering my very 90’s cabinet fronts. The kids all have separate spaces to create, or I can start a “doodle” for them to add to, and they love cleanup as well (spray bottle with water and a paper towel). It’s great for so many motor skills and for strengthening the shoulder muscles.
There’s nothing showy, viral, or awe-inspiring in this simple, faithful, day-to-day model, but even though it is mundane, I want to stop and recognize the wonder of it all.