Busy but bored — one mum’s tale of entertaining young children

05 March 2021
Amy Stevens
Amy Stevens is mum to a five year old boy and two year old girl. She and her husband have both started new jobs during the pandemic. 
2021 so far has been a smorgasbord of metaphors: plate-spinning, ball-juggling, falling-off-the-back-of-the-treadmill busy, with a large pinch of boredom added in.

I pride myself in being a person that does not get bored. There is always something on my to-do list, however mundane, to prevent boredom from troubling me.

My kids, however… my two-year-old already comes out with I’m bored” in true Kevin and Perry style and she’s learnt that from her five-year-old brother. We’re doing our best to try to explore new local places, but I think they are bored of the company as much as the surroundings! Lots of bickering….we are all ready to see some different faces. So we were very pleased to see the confirmation that our son will be going back to school next week; he’s so excited to see all his friends.

Peeking into the (Google) classroom window

Once a week my son’s schoolteacher holds a Google Meet for the kids in his class who are at home. Work is uploaded to Google Classroom every day and almost all the pictures of his work we upload are commented on by his teacher or teaching assistants. They’ve been great at keeping in touch and making him still feel connected to school. But the Google Meet is the one time in the week that he actually gets to see his teacher and some school mates, so it’s been really frustrating that of the four that have happened so far, we’ve only managed to get him dialed into one due to one thing or another.

I was determined this week we would make it happen and I’m so glad I did – he loved seeing everyone. His teacher had organised bingo and a drawing lesson, but there was also plenty of time for any child who wanted to show and tell” anything. Some of the children were shy but proudly showed pictures they had drawn. My son ran to fetch a Dog Man book we have been reading at bedtime, he rattled off about 200 hundred words about it and would have kept going (future vlogger?!). It was so interesting to observe how his teacher talked to the students and how they all interacted: a little window into the classroom that I wouldn’t normally get to peek through.

Let Toys Be Toys

My daughter is moving from the toddler room to the preschool room at her nursery this week. She’s getting so grown up! We’ve started to think about what we can get her for her third birthday next month. She ends up with a lot of her brother’s old toys, books and clothes so it’s tricky sometimes to find something new or different. Despite my attempts to keep my son’s toy selection fairly gender-neutral, invariably the gap in the hand-me-downs are the items that would traditionally be considered for girls” – dolls, dresses, etc. I found an interesting article that mentioned a campaign called Let Toys Be Toys. This award-winning campaign challenges gender stereo-typing of books and toys and asks toy and publishing industries to lift the limits on children’s interests by removing gender promotion and labelling. How fantastic!

Most of the time we use streaming services to watch TV, but on the odd occasion we are watching a channel and see a commercial break I find the gender polarised promotion in most children’s toy adverts glaringly apparent. I read the Let Toys Be Toys Gift Guides and have gone on to purchase Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World. It might be a book for my daughter to grow into (the recommended interest age is 6–9), but hey, I don’t want to put age limits on her interests either! Also, I’m hoping it will be a good book to read with both kids together. My son has just learnt all about Mary Anning at school and she is one of the women featured, so I know that would pique his interest. You never know, it might even feature in his next class show and tell”!

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