The beauty of homeschooling is that you can have all of your kids together at once. The problem is that if you have a toddler (or two as is my case) running around, they can be a big distraction from school (although a mighty fun and cute distraction). There are a few things you can do to keep those noisy little balls of energy from stopping the learning process of the older children though.
First, involve them in everything you can. If you’re reading a story, read to them too. If you’re having “art time,” let them participate. Age appropriate variations of “big kid” learning will not only give your toddler something to do, but it will prepare them for what’s to come in a few years.
Give them jobs to do. While you’re working with one child, give your toddler a cloth or feather duster and ask him to “clean” the bookshelves. You can also ask him to go get things for you, like a piece of paper or some crayons. They love to help!
Have some activities prepared. A toddler will play for a half hour with a cupful of rice and some plastic bowls. Finger paints, play dough, simple puzzles, and books are also great quiet toddler toys. Give them some big Legos or blocks and ask them to make towers and castles.
Start preschool early if you have to. Give her a printable coloring page with letters on it. For example, teach her that “A” is for apple. Then, after she’s done coloring the page, give her an apple to snack on. That should take up at least half an hour, and she’s learning at the same time.
Don’t underestimate the power of television. I’m not saying stick your child in front of the TV for hours on end watching Spongebob, but educational shows like Sesame Street and Super Why are great for kids, and keep them occupied for a little bit if you need some one-on-one time with an older child to get through a tough subject. There are also plenty of educational games for tablets that your child may enjoy, depending on their age and skill ability.
Try to keep a secret stash of new activities and toys. If you’re having a day that your toddler just won’t cooperate, bring one out. Often the fascination with a new toy or activity will keep them occupied for long enough that you can get done what you need to do.
The best tip of all is to do as much schooling during the toddler’s nap time as you can! And don’t stress it. Some days will be easier than others. Sometimes, you just have to call it a day. And that’s okay. In the end, it will all be worth it.
Plan and train for their independent play, so I can get 20-30 minutes of teaching time without interruptions. Make them a part of what you are doing can also eliminate the drama that can arise from their needing you. – Dollie @ Teachers of Good Things
What are YOUR tips for keeping your pre-schoolers busy during school time?