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Is Your Toddler Disrupting Your Homeschool?


Is your toddler disrupting your homeschool? Tips to save the day!

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

If you’re teaching letters or numbers this year, get a pack of flash cards for the youngest sib.  Just let her play with them as you and your older child work together.  Talk to the toddler directly once in a while when you’re explaining something.  Make sure she knows she’s part of the game.

Give her lessons of her own

Pick up one of those preschool workbooks sold at department stores Everywhere, and give him some crayons to color away in.  Or print out some letter or number coloring pages and let her color.  She’ll feel involved without you being under any real pressure.

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.

Utilize technology

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.

Love wins,

KT Brison
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KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys.Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
KT Brison
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About KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys. Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
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  1. These are fabulous suggestions! It’s been a while since I had a toddler while homeschooling but woah – did this ever make me remember! lol

    I always felt including her to be the best thing “mini – school”. Sensory trays, books, blocks, and crayons were a lifesaver!

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely week.

    • Thanks, Jennifer. I didn’t have toddlers by the time I started homeschooling, but I preschooled all of my boys at home (which, I guess was homeschooling, I just didn’t call it that), and these are the kinds of things I did to entertain Littlest while teaching Middle to read and write.

  2. These things have always worked brilliantly for me…until number five came along. He is currently 18 months old and is kicking my homeschooling tail! 🙂 So far, nothing works very well more than once, so we tend to take turns entertaining him. I work with the others while the older ones take a turn and then everyone works independently while I take a turn. My best advice is try all the wonderful ideas you listed above, and if nothing works, just repeat over and over, “This is a phase. We’ll get through it,” and grab an extra toddler snuggle!

  3. Having had a toddler while I was homeschooling my older 2, I understand how real the issue is. Great advice! We also found it helpful to do school during his nap time. Thanks for stopping by #SmallVictories!

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