One of the hardest things I noticed about having many little ones is the ability to be able to find time to do schooling with my older ones, without constant interruption. I had to try, fail, give up, and learn different things to do. Do I end up most days, making it work out? Well, yes sometimes, but I do find myself yelling and getting frustrated at times, and that is never good. Key is TRY. Try something, if something isn’t working, try something else. Keep changing until you find something that works.
What can you do?
The number one thing to do is make sure that your baby and toddlers needs are met FIRST! This includes nap, change of diaper, and food needs.
Utilize nap times for the most concentrated areas of school work. We did English and any hard Math work at this time.
Use screen time carefully. We used to use a gate and put a toddler into a bedroom with a tv show for 30 minutes. The child was safe, learned to play alone, and was able to watch a favorite show for a period of time. You can also use a playpen if needed.
We did some training sessions, teaching them to sit for longer periods of time without being distracted. I started out doing this for 10 minutes each day. I would hold the little one and teach him to be quiet during that ten minutes. He wasn’t allowed to kick and get down, wasn’t allowed to pull my hair, just learned to be content for a time. After he could do it for 10 minutes we moved up to 15. Each week we added more time, until they learned to sit successfully through an entire church service. This came in handy during school times as well. Teaches them self control.
When you are reading, give them their own stack of books to look at. Save this just for reading time, that way they can look forward to it.
Have toys and activities only for school time. If you keep certain toys up separately and only pull them out for school, they will learn to look forward to them. Here are some ideas for toddlers:
- Use a wipe container and have them push juice lids into the top
- Drop clothespins into a milk jug—cut a hole in the side to easily remove
- Make a dried rice or bean box to play in. Give them scoopers, cars, etc to play with.
- Push pipe cleaners into an oatmeal container with holes cut in top.
- Push pom poms into a snack container with holes punched in lid
- Blow up a balloon for instant fun—watch so that they do not accidentally pop it and choke. Make some paper plate paddles out of Popsicle sticks and tape. Have a fun game of hitting the balloon.
- Fill a water bottle with some rice or bird seed and a bunch of small objects. Your child will have fun trying to find all the objects.
- Fill a small plastic bottle with water, food coloring, and other objects. Make sure it is tightly sealed.
- Mix up some flour, food coloring, and water to make a paint that you seal into a plastic bag. Let them squish while sitting in a high chair.
As they get a little older and don’t eat everything you can:
- Take a blob of playdough and put some dried spaghetti noodles into it. Give them a handful of cheerios to stack on the noodles.
- Tear up pieces of small construction paper, and give them a q-tip and some glue poured into a lid. Let them put glue onto the paper and paste onto a larger size sheet of paper.
- Purchase some bingo dabbers, let them make pictures, without the mess of getting out paints.
Any other ideas on how to keep younger ones busy while doing school? Be blessed as you go about your day!