Goldilocks was on the right track - too hot was not good, too cold was not good, but just right was perfect!  It's the same thing when it comes to toys and your kids.  Too easy is not good, too hard is not good, finding the level that is just right for your child is perfect.  But how do you do that?  Is there any way to adjust an activity to make it just right?

Too Easy:
If a task is too easy for your child, then he/she will not be learning and could easily get bored and lose interest.  If you notice that your child is moving on quickly, mastering the skill too easily, or losing interest, then remove the toy.  You may not want to get rid of it - you may want to hold onto it for another child or it may be a favorite of your child's.  If it is a favorite and he/she keeps coming back to it, then simply put it in a closet for a little while and then bring it out later.  

Too Hard:
If a task is too hard for your child, then he/she may show signs of frustration and shut-down.  This is not good because he/she is not learning and may also leave the toy and not want to engage in it later on.  Again, take the toy away and put it away.  Bring it back out at a later time when you think your child can handle it.

Just Right:
If a task is just right, then it will do the following:  
1.  teach your child something
2.  keep his/her attention
3.  bring out very few frustrations in your child

Adjusting the Activity:
If an activity can be adjusted to be easier or harder, then try to make those adjustments.  If it is too easy and you can make it more difficulty, then it may become a "just right" task.  If a toy or task is too hard and you can make it slightly easier, then it may require your assistance, but it could become a task that teaches your child.  What are some ways to adjust an activity?  
1.  If your child has to give a correct answer to something, then provide options (i.e. is it blue or purple?)
2.  If your child has to choose a correct answer, but is able to easily choose the correct answer, then either increase the number of options for your child to choose from or make it a task where he/she must expressively tell you the answer without any options at all.
3.  If you can start the process for your child, then do that.  My son has a puzzle that is two large blocks.  You must match the pictures on the two blocks in order for a sound to play.  He can match the pictures and he can maneuver the blocks, but he can't do both at once.  Therefore, I make sure that I am close to him when he plays with this toy.  I will allow him to find the correct pictures to match and then use a hand-over-hand technique to help him line them up correctly.
4.  If you have been assisting your child and he/she is very confident with your assistance, then begin to fade your help and let him/her "take the reins".

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