There are a lot of great resources around these days for parents with young children. A lot of parents decide to stay home during the early years to spend more time with their children or to account for the cost of daycare. Its always nice to be able to take care of your children yourself, rather than having them with strangers while you work during the day. Although many parents prefer this, there can be a downside to staying home with the kids while they are young. Some advocates of childcare argue that the social interactions foster earlier development. Some children who attend preschool or daycare regularly hit cognitive milestones sooner than those who are cared for at home. There are also missed opportunities for social interaction and development when children are only with other adults all day.
To counter some of these missed opportunities there are programs that can provide what is lacking. In your neighborhood there might be a recreation center, library, or children’s play center that offers group kids classes or just free play areas so that your child can interact with others their age. These classes provide entertainment and learning at the same time so that your child won’t realize they are working on their skills. The games and activities are designed to bring the focus on essential age-specific developmental stages that should grow with practice. If you are just looking for some entertainment for your child, a group class is a great resource. Not everything has to be a learning opportunity. Kids learn all day everyday by just playing and using their imaginations, so free and unscheduled play is still great for them and gives you, as a parent, a little time to sit and relax. Dancing with ribbons can be a learning activity. Playing with giant foam balls can be a learning activity. Virtually anything that you do with your toddler than allows them to have a good time is a learning activity. You can utilize musical instruments or even make your own instruments to teach about how to make sounds. Even just quietly listening to music while looking at a book or playing with cars can foster brain development.
If you have small children at home and you worry about them getting enough social exposure, find a nearby kids group class or Mommy and me class so that your child can be around others their age. These classes promote the bond between mother and child through songs, games, and other interactions in a group setting. Also, quite often you can book a kids birthday party at one of these centers where the entertainment and games are provided by the center staff. In this case you can once again sit back and relax while your child has fun and bonds with others their age. Check out your local libraries and play centers to see if you can drop in on a class to see if its a good fit. You and your children will appreciate getting out of the house.