It’s been a long time since I had a toddler. 9 years to be exact.
And don’t think I’m not looking forward to being a grandma. Because I totally am.
Even though I don’t have to entertain a little bugger while trying to homeschool my boys, I’ve had plenty of people ask me what they should do to keep their toddlers from disrupting their homeschool day. I’ve put a lot of thought into it. Because I remember when Littlest was an infant and the family would be gathered on the bed for early-morning-wake-up-family-time, and Martin would start to tickle or wrestle with the older boys. Littlest, not yet even able to roll over, would jerk his tiny body toward all that other testosterone like he simply Could Not Wait to jump in and be a part of it.
Yeah, I should have realized that was a deep look into his future personality.
I also remember why I sent Middle to public school for the first 3 years. He thought the coolest thing in the world would be to get on that yellow bus with his big brother and ride off into parts unknown. I could not deny him that. He Had to get on the bus. His life would not have been complete if he hadn’t gotten to try it. I think the hour-long ride dampened his spirit pretty quickly, but at least he experienced it.
Do you see what I’m getting at? Little brothers and sisters want to be part of things. They don’t want to feel different from their siblings. So if you’re toddler is disrupting your homeschool, stop fighting him. Give in. Let him be part of it.
What to do when your toddler is disrupting your homeschool
Yeah, you’re not about pushing your kids to write before they’re 3. I get it. But you’re just going to let them soak up a little education while they’re feeling included in everyone else’s day. Here are some ideas.
Incorporate the toddler’s play into the older child’s lessons
Give her lessons of her own
Include him in read aloud time
Include the baby in read-aloud time with the older children. Start out with a picture book for the toddler and lead up to the chapter book you’re sharing with the older kids. Snuggle up and hope nap time comes (the best way to get my boys to sleep was Always to read to them). You could keep a stack of picture books on hand for her to look at while you read. I taught my boys to read by having them read books–okay, it was a tad more complicated than that–so if you’re doing that with an older child, the toddler will feel like he’s getting to do the same thing. Included. Just like he wants to be.
Use blocks and other materials
Teaching history? Ask your toddler to use blocks to build a temple or a Civil War era house or whatever relates to what you’re teaching. It doesn’t have to Look Like a temple–it’s just something she can do to feel included. Busy baby, yeah, but also absorbing what the others are learning while playing quietly.
I’m not big on using technology, especially for very small people, but if you like it as a learning tool, you could find an app that has alphabet songs. The Kidloland app I reviewed a few months ago has All Kinds of songs about all kinds of things. And it’s only one of many. Let her listen to it quietly while she sits with you and the older kids.
Come up with crafts he can make
Glue. Glitter. Paint. I mean, what kid doesn’t get happy with those things?
These ideas are not going to give you a perfect toddler, because, well, toddlers are toddlers. But they might help ease everyone’s day and give you a bit of breathing space to teach your older kids. The thing is, toddlers mostly just want to feel included. And the last thing we want to is make them feel left out.