by John Hoffman
Being a dad comes with lots of challenges. One of the more ordinary ones is helping kids find something good to do when they are bored.
With young children there will always be these times when “there’s nothing to do.” And while it’s perfectly fine – probably even good – for kids to be bored sometimes, stuff happen when children get bored. Stuff we don’t like. They bug each other. They bug us. They get into stuff they’re not supposed to get into. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.
Our first child was not good at amusing himself when he was little. I knew other kids who would play their with toys on their own for ages. But not our guy. He always wanted us to play with him. He went through a long period where he was obsessed with stories. He wanted us to read books a alot. Even if it were looking at one of our animal picture books, he’d demand that we make up a story. His toy play was often about stories too. Often he’d grab a few of his stuffed toys and plastic animals, set them in from of me, and say, “Start za story.”
I had to “start” a lot of stories. One time I invented this game where we pretended to go camping in the extra bedroom. This was before he’d ever actually gone camping. The bed in our extra room was just a mattress on the floor. We used the covers for our tent and plastic dishes for our camping gear. He loved it and I loved how much he loved it. I didn’t mind most of the time. It kept Riley occupied. And I could tell that this kind of togetherness was good for our relationship. I always figured that sharing good times with my kids was sort of like depositing money in a bank account. Only this was a bank account of shared good memories. I also felt pretty sure that this kind of imaginative verbal play was good for his developing brain.
But man, sometimes it was hard to keep coming up with story lines and to keep the stories going. Sometimes I wished I could just reach into a bag of tricks and pull out something cool to do with him.
Well, I haven’t got a bag of tricks for you. But Ontario’s Best Start Resource Centre have just put out this this new booklet called Daddy and Me On the Move. It’s full of activity ideas for Dads to do with kids aged 0 – 6. The booklet also has useful information about child development and how little kids learn. Play, of course, is one of the prime ways young children learn.
Daddy and Me on The Move will soon be available in local parent child resource centres, Early Years Centres and health units in Ontario. There’s also an online version, which you can find here.
Print off your own copy, or bookmark it on your cellphone or tablet. The ideas in this booklet just might bail you out a few times when your child comes to you and says, “There’s nothing to do.”
Interested in understanding the ways father involvement impacts child development and how activities with children encourage bonding with dad? Check out these webinars coming up:
Dec 8 (FR): http://en.beststart.org/node/234