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March Break Tips from Ann Douglas

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With March Break literally around the corner, do you find yourself scrambling for activities, day camps, programs and hectic schedules to keep the kids busy. March break madness can stress any parent. Running to ballet, skiing, swimming lessons and do not forget about the playdates that are planned between the activities. Does this sound like your life, Ann Douglas has some tips for us. Got your attention now....she wants to encouarge parents (yes us) and also teach us some tips & tricks for having a stress free March Break. Is that possible, can we really have a stress free March Break. I am going to share these tips with you as well I am going to test them on my kids.

Ann Douglas March Break Stress-Free Tips  

 1. Allow your child to experience a healthy amount of boredom. If you constantly rush in to alleviate that boredom, your child won't be motivated to learn how to find ways to entertain himself.

2. Don't make the mistake of assuming that it's your job to be a full-time, live-in entertainment director. One of the most important things you can teach your child is how to find his own fun -- how to figure out ways of entertaining themself.

3. Don't have too much stuff around. Children, like adults, can beparalyzed by too many choices. And organize the play materials that you do have on hand in a way that makes it easy for your child to see what options are on the play menu. If your child responds well to visual cues, you might even create a play idea book. (Take photos of your child engaged in various activities and use these photos to create a book of play ideas. You can keep adding to this idea book over time. You can even get your child involved intaking some of the photos of his/her favourite activities.)

4. When your child comes to you and says, "I'm bored," don't solve the boredom problem for him. Instead, help him to develop skills for dealing with that problem. Say, "Hmmm" and see what he says next. Encourage him to think about what he feels like doing. Does his body feel like moving? Do his hands feel like creating something? Does his voice feel likesinging? Do his eyes feel like looking at or reading a book? Do his ears feel like listening to music? Over time, he will learn to go through this process in his own head when he is looking for ways to entertain himself.

5. Make it possible for your child to engage in a variety of different types of play: creative play, imaginative play, motor-skills activities (both gross motor and fine motor), play involving other children. Also think about ways to minimize the amount of help your child needs to seek from you. (If a toy or puzzle is stored in a frustrating container, transplant it to another, easier to open container, for example.)

6. Finally, don't forget to spend plenty of one-on-one time with your child, too. You're not trying to ease out of your all-important role as your child's first teacher. You're simply trying to encourage a healthy balance of independent play and learning and time spent playing and learning with a parent or other adult. Besides, the March Break is meant for fun -- for you and your child. Be sure to schedule plenty of that. 

About Ann - 

Ann Douglas is a mother of four and the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting, including The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and The Mother of All Parenting Books. She writes "The Mother of All Baby Columns" for The Toronto Star.

Website: www.anndouglas.ca 
Twitter: @themotherofall
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Mother-of-All/74393366573