Keeping your child interested

By: Kate McNamara

Once you subscribe to the COCO Newsletter, be ready to find small chunks of time throughout the week to play with your child.  These activities are designed to be quick and fun.  If you show enthusiasm towards the activities, then your positivity will transfer to your children.  Try to pick a time during the day that you and your child are feeling motivated and excited to work together.  It is also important to avoid putting too much pressure on these activities.  Call them games and keep the mood light.  This will ensure that your child does not feel any pressure to complete the activities.  Instead, they will think of them as fun games that they get to play with mom or dad. 

Children can lose interest for many reasons.  Maybe the activities have lost their novelty.  The activity might not be challenging enough, or it might be too challenging.  Sometimes children mask their lack of understanding by stating that something is ‘boring’ or ‘too easy.’  It is important to think about why your child has lost interest to determine your next steps.  It is also important to think about if it is your own enthusiasm or energy that is causing your child to lose interest. 

Add Novelty

If your child seems bored with the materials or games you can do several things.  Often renaming the activity to a new and exciting name is enough.  The old game with red beads and a cup could become counting apples in a barrel.  Using different materials often sparks new interest as well.  If the materials call for beads, but dinosaurs will work just as well, then use the dinosaurs!  Let your child be the leader.  Tell your child that he is the teacher now.  He can hold the cup and ask you how many beads are inside.  If these steps are not enough to re-engage your child then try a different game and come back to that one another time.

Add Challenge

If your child seems to quickly master each game, turn the card over for suggestions that will engage your child deeper.  These added challenges should feel new and interesting for your child.  Your son or daughter may have very strong counting skills, but may need more support in numeric reasoning and logic.  Continue to monitor their progress in each area.  After you have tried the back of the card, consider increasing the number of objects you are presenting to your child.  The card may say 5 objects, so try with 10 and see what happens.

Take a Step Back

If your child quickly gives up on an activity or automatically states that something is boring or too easy consider the possibility that the activity may be too challenging.  Consider going back a step, retry a previous activity or decrease the number of objects to help build confidence.  It is important to walk the line of challenging and fun without becoming too hard and overwhelming.  Use statements like “you are working so hard” or “you are really growing” rather than focusing on your child being “smart.”  You want to help your child develop a growth mindset and realize that effort over time will lead to improvement.

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