Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What Do You Do With the Toddlers?

 Every homeschool mom who deals with toddlers while teaching older kids knows what this issue means. Sure, all the creative ideas sound great, but how do you do them with a preschooler hanging on your ankles?

First, take a moment to remember that they stay little for such a short time. I know that sounds unhelpful when you’re in the middle of diapers, runny noses, and crankiness due to missed naps. But a little perspective can help. I sometimes ask myself what I would do if I could have my three grown children back in their twos or threes for a few moments. Wow. I’d hug ‘em, kiss ‘em, and whisper “I love you” in their ears. Believe me, this stage lasts for a very short time.

However, dealing with them during a school day is still a reality. Here’s a few ideas that might help you keep the younger ones occupied while you work with the school age children.

  • ·      Try having a little “school” with the toddler first. Then you can remind him that it’s now big brother’s turn.
  • ·      Keep some quiet toys in the room where you’re working for the toddler to play with so he won’t feel left out. Aim for books, puzzles, building blocks, molding clay, etc.
  • ·      Rotate toys. Sometimes little ones have so many toys that everything becomes familiar and nothing interesting. Put some of the toys away and bring them out on a day when nothing else works.
  • ·      If they’re old enough, provide simple art supplies for them to experiment with.
  • ·      Have your older kids take turns looking after the little ones. This not only frees you up, but it’s great for building relationships with the siblings.
  • ·      Consider using fewer traditional texts and more hands on activities in which even the toddlers can join in. For instance, if you’re studying plants, you can go on nature walks to collect wildflowers. The toddlers can accompany you. Later, the older ones can identify the flowers, press them, and begin a notebook.
  • ·      Give the toddler a household chore to perform. Some of the new dusting tools just might catch his attention. Learning to do chores while they’re young is important. Many little ones love to feel they're helping.

Your turn! What do you do to occupy the toddlers in your home? Please share in the comment section.

1 comment:

  1. Thankful to finally be on the "other side" of this . . and we made it - it does go by fast! I agree most wholeheartedly with the first idea. Whenever I gave the youngest focused attention first thing - he seemed satisfied to allow me time with the others. (this was during the preschool years - not when he was too young to understand)