Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Balancing Working and Parenting

    Posted 08-20-2020 04:53 PM
    I enjoyed discussing working and parenting with @Tzufit Boyle, @Jesse Gormley, @Chad Morrison, and @Jennifer Nakayama on today's Thursdays @ 3! We weren't able to get to one of the questions. I wanted to share it here for our panelists to share feedback. 

    Submitted question:
    Does anyone has tips to encourage your toddlers to play by themselves (apart from giving screentime)? Thanks!

    Tirza Austin
    Manager, Online Community
    American Society of Civil Engineers
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive
    Reston, VA 20191

  • 2.  RE: Balancing Working and Parenting

    Posted 08-20-2020 05:22 PM
    With toddlers, you want to find something that they are able to do without difficulty. If they are confronted with something too hard, they get frustrated and don't want to do it. Things like duplos or puzzles are great, because it allows them to build and tear down, or put together and take apart. It's a repeated action, and toddlers are all about repetition. If you want to introduce something more challenging as a means of offering growth, make sure that you are with them for the "introduction" to get them to see that they can do it. I would have various activities ready, because they usually lose interest in about 15 minutes, but only offer one thing at a time. Too many options all at once can be overwhelming. Another thing to keep in mind is that one thing that is today's favorite may not even be interesting tomorrow, and that's ok. They are exploring and learning.

    Tzufit Boyle P.E., F.ASCE
    Water Resources Engineer
    Boynton Beach FL

  • 3.  RE: Balancing Working and Parenting

    Posted 08-21-2020 09:20 AM
    If I have my toddler home while I'm working, I try to prep a couple of activities ahead of time that she can do with minimal supervision. Busy Toddler (https://busytoddler.com/) is a great resource for ideas! My daughter also will play quietly for longer periods of time with puzzles, play doh, and books.

    Caitlin Johnson A.M.ASCE
    Graduate Engineer
    Breezy Point MN

  • 4.  RE: Balancing Working and Parenting

    Posted 08-21-2020 11:40 AM
    Thanks Tirza, for having us on this panel.

    With kids (and perhaps especially with toddlers), it is about capturing their attention, which is so fleeting at times and can rapidly implode!  And one approach is to actually embrace the screen time... but not necessarily on the screen.  If there is a character/theme that your toddler absolutely loves ON the screen, try finding a toy or game or book that has that same characters, for playtime OFF the screen.  They may be more likely to play longer with things very familiar to them, and if they've seen the characters on the screen doing certain storylines (i.e., Sesame Street), they may already have those make-believe storylines in their imagination, which can lead to longer playtimes,  Those tend to be the favorites in our house.

    Another approach that I've seen effective, is to bring out a new or "new-for-this-month" toy or game, for times when its really critical to have uninterrupted worktime.  Newness will help them explore playtime longer.  And since buying new can get expensive, just put away a few of their toys every month, maybe ones that they really liked at first, but their appeal has now waned.  Then bring it out next month or the month after... it'll be joyfull newness all over again.

    Jennifer Nakayama P.E., M.ASCE
    Waikiki Business Improvement District Association
    Honolulu HI