Last fall our chickens kept pecking each other. My two youngest kids were worried about the chickens losing feathers. We changed one thing and it changed the situation. We gave the chickens “something to do.” Of course, we gave them their usual scratch and crumble in the morning. Then part way through the day when they had “nothing to do,” I’d send out apple cores, the heels of bread, or leftovers that they could eat. Suddenly they had a pastime that kept them busy. The pecking slowed dramatically.
The moral of this story is…Don’t just leave kids alone expecting them not to quarrel and expecting them to find something productive to do. Guide children and teach them how to find positive pastime activities. Here are few ideas:
- Get out the play dough and cookie cutters or get out the water colors. They will imagine and create. (For older children, maybe a puzzle or basic craft supplies may get them intrigued.)
- Simple outside games like bubbles, jump rope, and sidewalk chalk bring lots of hours of play. Play with your kids and get them going.
- I like to check out a couple junior nonfiction books (usually about an animal) and set them on the couch. As elementary age kids walk past they see a strange animal on the cover and pick up the book out of curiosity.
Thankfully, unlike chickens, our kids have great minds and will build on what we teach! Enjoy watching how kids really love to learn….especially when given a “little idea” to push them ahead.