Homeschooling can be hard and overwhelming on it’s own. But add a toddler into the mix and it can become much more difficult. At least in my case, it was.
Homeschooling with toddlers in the household is pretty distracting. The very first tip I can give, from my own experience, is to try to plan school learning and activities during nap times. Of course, this doesn’t always work. When Wesley was younger, it took him forever to fall asleep, and stay asleep, for naps. And he didn’t nap every day. But when he did, we were able to knock out a solid hour or two of school work and crafts. (We were doing pre-K reading at the time, so it didn’t take long anyway)
All by myself boxes and sensory play, always a winner!
During those days that Wesley did not sleep, I needed to try to distract him with other activities while Tanner and I did school work. Sometimes I would put together an “All By Myself” box for him to play with. In these boxes I would have a puzzle or two, flash cards, an activity game (like lacing cards, or color sorting manipulatives), a smaller box of sensory items (dry beans and lentils, colored dry rice and pasta, large buttons of various colors and shapes, dry oatmeal, seashells, rocks, etc…), and tools and cups. Sometimes I would add playdoh to the box instead of sensory items. We would always do school work with Wesley and the box right next to us because a lot of the sensory items were small, and he obviously needed to be watched while playing. The only issue with using these boxes, was that Tanner really wanted to join in, as well. So it was a nice incentive for him to finish what he was working on, so he could play with the boxes. Also, I’d like to add that you don’t have to go spending a ton of money on this. The Dollar Tree has a lot of very good manipulatives and crafty trinkets.
Begin fine motor learning.
As Wesley got a little older, we started doing a little more fine motor play. I gave him a dry erase board to scribble on, a fun dry erase book, and of course, crayons and paper. Another great activity for toddlers is do-a-dot learning pages. I really like the do-a-dot markers because they are like paint and markers, but not nearly as messy! Which is wonderful when you’re trying to teach another child at the same time. Toddlers are awesome at creating messes in the smallest amount of time!
These are some of the things that really helped me out when Wesley was a small toddler. If everything else failed, I would put a movie on and hope it distracted him long enough for a little productive school time. Things have totally changed for us now as Wesley is adamant on joining us every minute, to do his own school work.