I used this tip for maximizing my time at home as a stay-at-home mom to make sure I was being mindful of all the ways I could teach my children to prepare them for school. Homeschooling was not on my radar at this point, but this is really helpful if you do homeschool. A series of simple checklists that can reveal areas where your child still needs to work on developmental skills, and where they are strong, is so valuable. There is no need to obsess over assessment, but using them here and there to help guide your activities at home as a stay-at-home mom has only helped my children be over-prepared for school when they started Kindergarten.
I used to get bored as stay-at-home mom. Those days made me question whether being a stay-at-home mom was worth it. As a former teacher, and a child who had a stay-at-home mom, I knew that what I was doing was valuable, but I needed to add things into my day to feel more successful. This quick tip helped guide my interactions with my son and helped encourage me to see the things that I was already doing with him to encourage his development. It might be controversial, but when used in the right way it was very helpful to me.
When I had one child, I could get the house cleaned all in one day, and still had time for myself during naptime and after bedtime EVERY day. I had moments when I wondered what in the world I was going to do next. It is a nice problem to have-feeling accomplished to the point of feeling bored. Now, I wish for boring days, but I know I am in a different season of life with more children and less time for me time right now. It will not last forever. I know it is a busy season of life, but still a blessing.
Download a developmental checklist for your child and check out what skills they have mastered or need to work on. (Don’t stress the ages listed for mastery, but use them as a guide for interactions and activities…really, don’t stress it!) I use checklists from the Centers for Disease Control website when my children are infants and toddlers.
When my children are preschool age, I use an assessment form that I used when I was teaching preschool. I also have an assessment form for children who are in Kindergarten. They helped me prepare my son for Kindergarten and was important to helping me check that I was preparing my daughter well with our homeschool preschool activities.
Children take time to learn new skills-some need more time than others. I use these assessment forms about every 6 months. When I was focusing on my homeschool preschool lessons with my oldest daughter, I used the preschool assessment form in the Fall as we started, and then again around March to see what we still needed to work on-or review.
Developmental assessements are controversial, but I think they can help you see your child’s strengths and weaknesses. (Yes, our perfect little munchkins each have areas where they can improve-well, mine do anyway!)
Once you take a look at one, and check off all that your child already does well, it will make more sense. You’ll realize how well you are teaching them as well as realize the skills that she still needs to learn, which will help you pick activities activities for your infant, toddler or preschooler to encourage growth. Watch your child as they play, listen as they speak, look for their interests and observe how they interact with others. This is the work we can and need to do as stay-at-home moms. We have a unique ability to have a whole picture of our child’s strengths and weaknesses because we spend so much time with them at home. That is a benefit!