my 4 year old must be busy from morning till night or her behavior deteriorates into destructive and sometimes outrageous behavior.
any suggestions for making a system of this???
we set up a space for her and a rack of drawers with stuff for her to do, it made her happy and occupied for a while, but now the magic is gone.
my son is SO radically different. it's almost like they have opposite needs and i am having issues learning to think in a way that addresses what she needs. instead i find myself reacting to her behavior.
small house, smaller budget, busy homeschooling mom, but willing to try whatever might work. (so i get to keep my sanity)
"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift." -- Mary Oliver
My dh is in school and does the majority of the childcare, but we brought the train table to the living room and put all the Legos on it, and our 4 yo will build things for hours at a time. Is your dd into Legos? Drawing? It seems like age four was when my introverts (dd and ds2) really got into working on things on their own for loooong stretches of time, but it never happened with ds1. He wants WAY more interaction, but he's now getting that at school.
Mommy to kids
My older son (now 6) sounds similar, needing to be busy, and also wanting interaction a lot. He's in full-time K now, but preschool was just a few mornings a week. Our setup isn't perfect but... We have a few different areas in the house where he can find a different activity:
-We have two kids' desks (we also have ds2 age 4) with drawing/workbooks/coloring supplies, one is in the dining room, one in my "office".
-There's a book nook in the living room with a bunch of our books and about 40 library books at a time.
-There's another table where they can do "activities" that kind of rotate and get put away when they seem bored with them - Snap Circuits, weaving loom, play dough, etc.
-There's a CD player with kids' CDs that they have access to.
-Recent addition is a digital piano (thank you, craigslist!), but there's always been a box of little instruments - xylophone, harmonica, shakers.
-Low shelf in the livingroom of puzzles/games in boxes. There's not much in the bedroom upstairs but there are a few books and puzzle-y toys.
And when he's seeming crazy (maybe bored I guess?) I tell him it's outside time!! And I send him out. He goes on the swings, or scooter, or recently hula hoop sometimes. Even just 10 minutes refreshes him. So, basically there's a lot to do in the house, but I help him along with ideas and sometimes insist he go outside, which helps a lot. At 4 I started letting him go out by himself as long as I could see him in the backyard.
Hope this helps at all. Consider rotating out the stuff in your drawers for her?
first the golden 3 rules are still very very important. rest, food and action (energy release for those kids who need a lot of physical activity).
i feel our job is to provide the choices and the child choose what to do with it.
dd was never into toys. huuuuuge into imaginary play. so i gave her bunches of things - rubber bands, paper clips, partylite candles, etc. all tupperwear. she had access to my kitchen stuff as long as she returned them. one thing she absolutely loved that we discovered by accident. blocks and an empty small bookshelf = doll house.
lots of sensory stuff - bean bowls with age appropriate toys in them. pouring, measuring. and when it was time to change i'd throw in flour or sugar and she'd go to town with it with water.
seh loves, loves to figure out how things work. esp. mixing. so gave her all my old makeup, oil and shampoo or stuff i didnt use. and she'd mix to see which one worked.
yeah she is my messy child so i'd give her stuff she could work with.
playdough was not that fun. flour oil and water was more fun.
i have always had to think out of the box for her. she'd go to town with just leaves and flowrs and sticks and stone and create fairylands in the garden.
OP, I'm going through this with my own lo's. DD (5yo) was able to occupy herself rather easily for most of her life and about a year or so ago I started noticing that she was getting bored rather easily. We've tried setting up shelves with all her things on them so she can grab anything at anytime but that lost its luster rather quickly. In the end I've come to the conclusion that the issue is boredom. We go to the library a lot. This works for dd because she loves books and she can cover so many new topics in such a short time keeping her brain stimulated and mine sane.
Youngest ds (18mo) is a different story. He isn't as into books as dd, not yet anyway. He gets just as bored as she does. He's getting into stacking cups and puzzles a bit lately but he also gets into trouble when not stimulated enough. In recent weeks I've found him doing the following: sitting on the kitchen table while I was doing dishes, standing on the train table, sitting on the back of the sofa, standing on the computer chair pushing buttons on the keyboard. Now, you'd think I wasn't paying attention to the little guy but he's fast as lightning and gets into these situations faster than one could imagine. I'm currently researching some new toy options that I can add to our house.