Transitioning to being a stay at home mom for my son has not been as traumatic for me as I thought it would have been. Because my focus has been on him and responding to his needs, getting on a routine/schedule, etc., I have been able to not think about what I would be doing at this time of the year or at any particular time of the school day. I’ve also found things to do both for my own sanity and to help E learn and grow, even for as young as he is (almost 5 months). He is much more interactive these days than he was when he first came home, so we are enjoying spending time together, going on walks, playing, reading, visiting friends, in addition to the household stuff like washing bottles/dishes, doing laundry, organizing his room, purging stuff that we no longer need/use, etc. As he gets older and begins to understand more around him, I want to do things with him that will help him to learn and grow, but also make memories for us as a family. So, I’ve decided to make a list of the places I want to take him and things I want to do with him for a few of reasons. (1) So we know the things we want to do. (2) To keep the list somewhere I can find it (not on a slip of paper that will disappear in 5 minutes). (3) To be able to add to it and to cross things off as we do things.
(1) Spend time outdoors – playing, camping, hiking, going to national/state/local parks, etc. – This is important to me for a variety of reasons. I loved going camping with my family when I was a kid and we would go every year. We learned about the natural world and God’s creation of it by being outside. Additionally, with all the screen stuff these days (iPads, computers, TV, etc.), being outside will help E to use his energy, be creative, be aware of the outside world, be imaginative, etc.
(2) Learn a musical instrument – I took piano lessons as a kid (though I do not play extremely well, I can follow a piece of music well enough for someone to sing along) and my husband was in marching band and now plays the acoustic guitar in our church band. Whether E decides to play the piano, guitar, or any other instrument – my husband is hoping for the saxophone! – learning a musical instrument helps in so many areas. Not only does it encourage him to vary his musical styles and tastes, both in listening and playing, but it helps brain development, increase math and reading skills in school, and widen the possibilities for him. Plus, girls like boys that play an instrument! ;-)
(3) Go to historical sites – Oh my! Where do I begin on this one?!?! I am a history nerd and love learning new things, going to new places and museums, etc. While much of this is because my parents took my sister and I to these places when we were kids, I think it’s still important to learn about your own history. So, to help E do that, we will definitely take him to historical places that we are near, both at home and while on trips.
(4) Attend cultural events – Orchestra/Symphony, cultural fairs/festivals, etc. – Not only are these important to learn about other cultures and places, but it also encourages learning (as all of these do) about how to behave in certain situations. For example, you behave differently at a rock concert than you do at the symphony. It also broadens horizons.