Training children for table time is something that I have been consciously incorporating into our daily routine in the past one year. Table time training is basically teaching your child to stay put and sit in his or her designated chair with an activity at hand to accomplish. Table play is also a wonderful time to engage your toddler and older children to occupy themselves while mum is busy getting dinner ready or cleaning up the aftermaths. Mums can rest assure that children are not wandering around, touching things that are off limit or getting into the kitchen danger prone zone.
Hammer Tap Tap – a great table time activity for 3-6 year olds
Table time also has many benefits to the child. Self control, learning how to focus and concentrate, and developing fine motor skills are benefits that will go a long way towards making competent, contented, independent self learner. Table time teaches the child to occupy him/herself without the need for external stimuli (a.k.a MUM), and this virtue of self control will spill over into other areas of the child’s life. Most importantly, a heart trained for self control teaches the child to obey instructions, resting contently in the authority of Mum and Dad. When you are first training for table time, you may want to set a timer for a short period of time, depending on the age of your child. First sit with with him and provide clear and gentle instructions of what to do: ie the activity to choose and where he is to sit, what you want your child to do and that he is not to get out of his chair until the timer rings. With older children, table time can last up to an hour for reading, homework or other academic book works.
A logarithmic board – great for teaching counting, sequencing, numbers, patterns, colour matching, and basic addition and subtraction. Great for preschoolers!
When first introduced to this logarithmic board, my son was visibly enjoying himself sequencing the number, and then matching the dots to the loops in the the pegs of the differing lengths and swapping the numbers around. This board is great for teaching basic maths and one that can go with your child into early elementary.
One of my best inspirations for table time training is Ang’s blog. She mentioned that, “Teaching your young child to sit and focus on an activity and see it through until completion will go a long way towards preparing them for later learning”, which I find to be true. In her blog here she has also provided many Montessori type tray activities for young children that help to develop their fine motor skills. Sitting skill is something that parents need to train our children in. The benefits are seeing these little wiggly bodies learning to sit still at church or the restaurants.
The kids are encouraged to accomplish easy, fun tasks with many praises to begin with. This magnetic shapes above is a fun start for kids to create any designs they want. An instruction booklet is given for more complex design which helps towards task persistence training.
Ang further mentioned that, “Putting a flexible routine into place and teaching your child to stay where you want them to stay will be an important first step. Introducing playpen or room time, highchair timeor table time, mat time and other periods of planned activity to your child’s day will reap the rewards of a child who is able to sit and focus and learn from the materials available to them. Self-control will begin to grow and the benefit will spill over into all parts of their lives. Time for some free play with age-appropriate choice making is also important, however if a toddler’s whole day is unstructured and contains many choices you will be seeing many “sticky patches” as Mel Hayde terms them in her book “Terrific Toddlers.” (This is a great resource to have which gives parents practical tips on how to train young babies and toddlers to have happy, healthy and almost tantrum-free hearts.) Some ideas for table time activities from baby to school aged children can be found here. I love Ang’s blog and how she so readily shares the way she structures her children’s activities and routines. It has definitely given me a lot of ideas for my own table time activities with my children. Some activities that you may want to incorporate for table time includes: Colouring, Sticker book, Activity Books, Crafts, Beading, Spray Art, Magic Markers, Scrapbooking, Stamp Collecting, Magnetic boards, Geoboard, Pipecleaner creation, Cutting, Drawing, Stenciling, Playdough, Water painting books, Gluing, Pattern blocks, Mazes and many many other possibilities! As you faithfully incorporates this into your daily routine, you will find that your child looks forward to table time and that he will be able to sit and play for a longer period of time.
Have a great and blessed day!