Monday, March 3, 2014

Keeping Toddlers Busy During School

How many times have I gone to a homeschool conference and seen a workshop titled, 'Occupying Toddlers While Teaching Older Children'.  Of course I never actually went to one of those seminars.  I was confident I knew what to do with all my littles to ensure a perfectly peaceful and uninterrupted school day.  Ahem.  And confidence is the same thing as success, right?
While I'll admit my home has rarely been labeled as noise -free, clutter-free, or stress-free, I have learned a few things about keeping my littles happy and semi-quiet so I can teach the olders.  I don't do anything highly structured, (tried that many times and made everyone cry.  Including me.)  but I have a timer.  My kids love the timer.  I set it for a half-hour to 45 minutes when I need them to play alone.  I get out something constructive, like Duplo or drawing books or play-doh, or I have them make a fort or play store, complete with cans and boxes from mom's pantry, and away we go.  Perfectly, of course, with no fighting over toys, no crying over bonked heads, no asking how many more minutes until the timer is done.  It works pretty well, so long as it doesn't go on forever. The littles get a chance to play something special, and I get time alone with a child or two who needs extra help. And the littles are instructed to not bother Mommy until the timer dings. See?  I really didn't need that fancy seminar. It just took me about fifty years to get really good at this.
My darling baby boy, scooping up dried beans.

Ellie quickly joined in with brother.  Sarah wanted to also, but she was the one working with Mom.

Happy children!
They stayed put for almost an hour. And those beans only took ten minutes to sweep up, rinse, and put on the stove for tomorrow's dinner!  Talk about the five-minute rule...Don't worry...If I have you over for dinner, I promise I won't serve you beans that my children have been playing with.  On the floor.


  1. Sounds like it is going well. I'm sure you are enjoying the new house. What a blessing. Oh, Happy Birthday a little early. I hope you have a great day.

    1. Thanks Kathy! I will be judging at a speech and debate tournament all day on my birthday. I love judging, though, so it'll be fun.