Homeschooling older kids with toddlers around in the house is not always the ideal experience. Toddlers scream, throw tantrums, make a mess, go into the shelves and take out books, write on older sibling’s books/notebooks, spill milk, cry!
They are real jerks (the cute kind) SORRY but you know it too right?
I started to homeschool my 2nd grader when I had a 6 months old baby and a 2-year-old toddler. Now they are both around 3.5 and 2 years old!
In the beginning, we followed mostly an “unschooling” lifestyle. My life was already soo hectic, I could not commit to a scheduled day on the desk with my 2nd grader son.
We did library trips, a lot of outdoor/indoor park visits, made his learning experience a fun one! We did plenty of science experiments adapted from Pinterest. Art projects and reading. I let him choose his daily learning activities and read A LOT of BOOKS. BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS.
But, now that my son is in grade 3 and I have a little more manageable life with my toddlers sleeping longer stretches at night. I wake up a little more rested than their baby stages. But, homeschooling around them still gets quite crazy. Only, If I don’t manage it well though.
You see, our experiences make us wiser. I have learned that I can tackle homeschooling while still having them around and still have my peace. My oldest son can also focus and less distracted by his little brothers.
Toddlers are cute. They are cuddly and kissable. They are still learning the art of language, learning to cope with their “never ending” bursts of emotions, learning to understand the world around them. It’s overwhelming when you have only been on this Earth for a couple of years and adults expect you to just behave like ..well an adult right? Sure, I know this, I understand why they behave the way they do. As a mother, it is my job to find the balance between it all for my own sanity. Won’t you agree?
So let me help you make your homeschooling life around toddlers a little more manageable. I am not a therapist or a psychologist. But these tips I am about to present you, are my tried and tested ones!
Here they are:
Yes, RELAX momma. You need to breathe. Life is going to be alright. So what if the house is a little messy, there may be dishes in the sink, you may have splatters of juice on walls and milk on the carpet. Legos all over the floors, and sometimes you step on a piece and beg for your life. Yes, they don’t disappear on their own but they can be handled. I’ve had many incidents when I was in the middle of a very interesting science demonstration with my oldest and my #3 spilled a jar of juice on the carpet and smiled at me. I mean, how do you sit there when this happens right? You don’t! You can clean it up quickly but get back to what you were doing. The deep cleaning can be done later. But, do not lose it. It does not work. Believe me, if you lose your temper, 5 minutes later you will feel like “worst mom on the planet”. It will haunt you! So you see, a much more relaxed and tolerant attitude will keep you under control. And once you start practicing this, your kids will actually follow along.
2. Have a toddler-proof home.
I cannot stress this enough. Having a toddler proof home is extremely important even if you do not homeschool, but even more important if you do homeschool. Toddlers get in everything! In my house they get in the fridge, they get into cabinets, they climb book shelves, windows, open drawers. To save my sanity, I have purchased locks for all my cabinets, our windows have child locks already, I keep all liquids in the back of the fridge, knives and sharp objects high up and out of reach. This makes my life easier and I panic less. Because I know everything is out of reach even if they attempted such crimes!
3. Plan it.
Have a plan laid out the night before. I am not saying go buy a fancy planner and put stickers on it. Not necessary. I’ve done it, and my planner from 2016 is still empty. Lesson learned. I am just not that fancy yet. Just get yourself a plain notebook and make a “to do” list. Plan what you will do first thing when you wake up. What will be breakfast? What will be taught to your child on that day? What activities will you be engaging the toddlers with? What will be lunch? Will you teach 1 subjects, 2 subjects or 3 subjects? I personally, teach 2 subjects a day. I use a chalk board time table from Dollar Store to remind me of what subjects to teach per day. I use curriculums now, so I am aware of what is in them and what will be taught. (Curriculum post will be coming soon on my blog)
4. Give the toddlers “things” to do!
This may be one of my most favorite one. Because this is when I get to focus on my oldest son and teach what I need to teach. This is my moment of “sanity”. When the toddlers are busy they are not getting in my way of homeschooling. My activities for my toddlers start with giving them space first. I have a high chair with a tray where I put my youngest son all buckled up. Sometimes, he will play with our home-made play dough, or the glow in the dark drawing book, peg boards, stamping with food coloring using fruits or stamps, pattern pictures, magnetic tiles, mega blocks, lots of painting and drawing too! Remember, keeping them busy in activities like this is also helpful for their brain development and motor skills. So, let them make a little mess along the way. Do not fuss over it just yet.
5. Give them something to snack on.
sometimes toddlers react more than they should to their surroundings because they are hungry. But, they refuse food anyway at any cost. make their snacks a little more fun if you can! Keep veggie muffins hidden with vanilla or chocolate ones, make egg muffins, banana pops, yogurt pops, fruits cut up with shape cutters.
6. Take full advantage of toddler nap times.
This one is BLISS. Luckily, my toddlers still take their naps. I make sure they get 1-hour nap per day. When they nap, I usually prepare lunch while giving my oldest son a lecture on a topic, talking about history and give him something to work on. This is also my rest time. I usually grab a glass of smoothie at this time to fight off mid day fatigue. Put my feet up. Listen to audio books with my son or work on our writing assignments before the toddlers wake up and we all eat lunch.
7. Give homeschooled kids some “independent work”.
Give them the worksheets, drawing, brain puzzles, cross words, puzzle solving, word searching etc work whenever you can.
8. Have fun.
Remember to have fun along the way. Homeschooling is not replacing public or private school at home. It is about finding your comfort zone and teach in a more relaxed manner. I chose to homeschool for many reasons, this was one of the reasons.
I hope you found this post helpful. If you did, please spread the love and share with your friends. I love reading comments from readers, i would love to hear about what you thought! How you plan to homeschool with toddlers around.
Have a wonderful week!