This week for homeschool month I want to share some ideas for you moms trying to juggle teaching older kids when you have babies and toddlers around. It sure is a challenge….but you can do it!!!
Babies: When I had a new baby (which I did for almost 2 decades!), I always kept a rocking chair in the room where we did our school. That way I could comfortably hold baby and teach at the same time. I also would take school into my bedroom or the nursery when necessary. This season is really about being flexible. Take 20 minute breaks while you nurse. Relax and enjoy your baby.
Toddlers: Once they are big enough to move around and play a little, it’s a whole new situation. This time takes training and work and patience. Here are a few things I did while I was homeschooling and raising toddlers.
1. Teach them to play alone in small increments. Depending on their age, they can play in one spot with just a few toys for 10 minutes or so. I’d keep a special set of toys that are a favorite set aside for this time. I’d spread a blanket or create a spot where they have to stay, give them the toys and tell them to stay there until the timer goes off.
2. Fifteen minutes of sibling time. Yes, an older sibling can play with a toddler for 15 minutes while you work with other kids. It should be time with a purpose that is teaching the toddler and keeping them safe. This time is not for the older child’s enjoyment, but for them to serve. (I used a timer a lot during these years to remind myself not to expect them to be still and quiet for too long)
3. Work during nap time. Toddlers tend to have regular nap times that you can count on, so why not use a little of that time to get some school work done?
4. Tactile activities. Toddler respond really well to doing things with their hands. A 9X13 pan filled with rice or a sink with water and bubbles can entertain a child for 10-15 minutes.
5. Videos. Yep, I’m just gonna say it. There are some days when I needed to really occupy the littles to get a big chunk of school done. I tried not to do this more than twice a month. So if I was going to use electronics, I just tried to be sure it was “educational.” Here are a few fun ones:
*I Will Trust God (a sweet, simple message about trusting God)
*My First Signs (learning sign language)
*What’s in the Bible? (a really cute series)
*Creation Proclaims: Climbers & Creepers (a little older, but great lessons about creation!)
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