Keeping a preschooler company and engaged for extended periods can be challenging for any parent. After all, most children of that age are still very much in the process of learning about the world around them and testing boundaries at every step. They aren’t quite old enough to babysit themselves yet but not relatively young enough to be left anywhere unsupervised either.
In addition to being limited by the developmental stage of your child, you may find it challenging to keep your preschooler active and engaged due to various other factors. Whether you have other children who require your attention, work long hours outside of the home, or simply live in a small apartment that doesn’t offer many entertainment options, keeping your child company can be tricky at times. This post covers some of the activities you can do to keep your preschooler engaged at home.
1. Provide opportunities for reading and learning
Parents often overlook reading and learning opportunities that can help keep their child active and engaged. Even though you may not be able to take your child to the zoo or see a movie, there are still plenty of ways to engage your child with various learning activities.
Make it a daily occurrence to read books aloud to your child, even if it’s the same book. You can also provide your child with “mini-books” by writing simple stories that feature your child as the main character. You can use these stories to engage your child in creative play, like making costumes and props for their mini-book characters. These activities are known as speech and drama and are a great way to develop your child’s creativity and strengthen their communication skills. In fact, many speech and drama classes in Singapore are designed for kids as young as 3 or 4 years old.
2. Create a cosy space for your child to hang out
When you need to keep a preschooler engaged for long periods, creating a cosy space for your child to hang out may be helpful. This can be as simple as providing a comfortable place for your child to sit, like a couch or rocking chair, or as elaborate as creating an indoor tent. When your child has a comfortable space to retreat, it can help reduce feelings of boredom and restlessness, which can lead to disinterest and misbehaviour.
3. Let your child choose what they want to do
When you’re at a loss for ideas on how to keep your child active and engaged, let your child choose what they want to do. This can be as simple as asking your child, “What do you want to do?” or, “What did you like doing yesterday?” or it can be as elaborate as creating a list of different activities that your child can choose from. You can also ask your preschooler to help you decide what to do. Letting your child choose what they want to do empowers them to take ownership of their time, which can help strengthen their self-confidence and self-esteem.
4. Make use of short activities that offer lots of repetition
If your child is bored, they may become restless and fidgety, or they may show signs of anxiety, like becoming withdrawn or irritable. By picking an activity that offers lots of repetition, you can keep your child engaged even if the activity typically would not hold their interest for long. For instance, puzzles fit the bill perfectly, even if your child is only interested in working on a puzzle for a few minutes, as it can easily be repeated throughout the day.
You can also use visual cues, like posters or calendars, to keep your child engaged. For example, if your child is learning about animals, you can easily tack up posters of different animals in places your child will be spending lots of time, like the kitchen or playroom, so that they can be visually reinforced throughout the day.
5. Provide basic art tools and supplies
Art and creative play can be a fantastic way to engage your child and help them release any pent-up energy they may be feeling. Young children can begin exploring art and creative play with basic art supplies like finger paints, crayons, markers, and simple craft projects. You don’t need to keep fancy art supplies around the house to engage your child in creative play; many inexpensive art supplies are available at most retail stores. Even something as simple as sidewalk chalk can provide a creative outlet for your child.
6. Provide physical activity options
Even if your child is content playing with toys or other activities inside the house, it can still be helpful to provide outdoor physical activity options for your child. Doing so can help your child better manage their pent-up energy and reduce boredom, fidgetiness, and irritability.
Moreover, providing outdoor physical activity options for your child when you are inside the house for an extended period can be helpful. You may even want to create an outdoor playground of sorts for your child if you have the space, like putting a small slide or an indoor play structure in a central area of your home.
When you need to keep your child entertained and content for an extended period, it can be helpful to keep these tips in mind. Keeping your child engaged doesn’t have to be challenging as long as you are prepared to make the necessary adjustments based on your child’s developmental stage, temperament, and interests.
Viv’s Schoolhouse is a reputable international preschool in Singapore that aims to assist young children in developing the necessary social, cognitive, and linguistic skills required for formal education. Through stimulating and engaging activities, we provide a robust curriculum to support the growth of our student’s communication, empathy, critical thinking, and other fundamental abilities. Are you curious to know more about us? Get in touch with us today for further details!