View Full Version : What to do with younger siblings

05-22-2007, 01:01 PM
I know that this question has been asked in the past, but I am having difficulty finding the post. So, I thought I would ask it yet again. I am trying to get a jump on things for next years school schedule and am looking for ideas on what to do with my ds who will be 1 1/2 come September. I have tried homeschooling when he naps in the afternoon but my ds6 and ds4 can't seem to concentrate and are too tired by then. So, I need to go back to a morning schedule come fall. Which means schooling with a toddler. Any ideas?


05-22-2007, 01:07 PM
I got a book from homeschoolestore called Preschool in a Bag. Or something close to that. It would probably be too old for him now, but you could start making some of the stuff now for later. They are self-directed and self-checking activities all in on baggie each.

Could he do playdough or something like that nearby?

I'm sure the ladies here will have lots of good ideas. I'll be listening, too, since I just have one right now!

05-22-2007, 01:14 PM
I have put the little boy that I keep during the day in his highchair right beside of us with his own paper and crayons, a book, a small car or other toy or sometimes even a snack and we work while he is occupied. Now he is 20 months old and we have a little desk for him. He can be very loud and rowdy but we try to leave math for naptime.

05-22-2007, 01:38 PM

05-22-2007, 02:36 PM
I have done all the preschool bag activities. I made them last year for my ds3 to use. They are all over my little ones head though. I was looking for any other ideas. Thanks for sharing those though. I do like the idea of saving math for naptime!


the sneaky mama
05-22-2007, 02:41 PM
I have 10,001 ideas but I'll start with this one thought. I've found my little ones must have manipulatives. . .puzzles, etc.
must go will write more when we have time.

05-22-2007, 04:57 PM
I know it sounds crazy but the first thing that happens is the older one needs to learn to be tolerant. ugh!!!!

Our youngest would come and go and we'd save the messy science experiment type things for when he was napping.

Get some "special" toys that are only done when you need to be working with the older one. The bags are great ideas and you can assemble them ahead of time just tone down the difficulty level. We found that letting them be in the middle of whatever we doing was the best option. It's a phase and as long as you can treat it as such you'll stay more sane. lol If you have a way to "trap" the little one in the same room as schooling is happening that will help prevent the "clean up operations" that go with the 1.5 year old territory. lol You know digging in the plants, snooping where they shouldn't be, changing their own diaper, etc...

We have a kid height school table that is rectangle (which I hated when our little guy was learning to walk) but...I am able to put the little guy on the end and my oldest on the long side down toward the other end and then I sit across from him. That way I can reach everyone and get up when I need to.

Highchair is a good idea if you school at a tall table but...it will only be good for a limited amount of time. Bread tearing is a great craft for little ones. They can eat it as they want but...make a big mess for mom to clean up later as they do. lol

We have geometric hard plastic shapes and they are great for the little one. They are educational as well as great banging blocks. lol

Depending on the kid (some kids put everything in their mouth) you could get a chalk board and colored chalk - always a treat and I just got the painters drop cloths from Lowe's or Home Depot and opened it up under it so...I didn't have to clean the floor afterward - ditto for painting on the easel. Our easel is whiteboard on one site and chalk board on the other.

Just remember...deep breath...it's a stage. ;)

05-22-2007, 05:15 PM
Great ideas Sheila. Thanks for sharing. I am so glad its just a phase. One I am looking forward to getting past! Thanks for the help


05-22-2007, 05:34 PM
Have you considered having the older ones take turns playing with the little one and keeping him occupied? For example, if you're reading with one, the other can be playing with your toddler. Then they switch. Of course, there will be things you will want to do with both (or all three!). Include the little one as much as possible (and he will tolerate!). That means when they're doing a worksheet, make one for the little one. Then if he wants to do school, too, give him the worksheet and let him scribble all over it. I would always keep a notebook of papers for when mine wanted to "do school".

05-22-2007, 10:41 PM
Benadryl, shock collars, velcro, hand-cuffs, and large burlap sacks....................

..............are, in the interest of the childrens' safety, all things that you should make sure are NOT in the area where the younger siblings are during homeschooling hours.

No, seriously! You need to teac.... err, ehem, I mean child proof the homeschool room.

05-22-2007, 10:46 PM
OK, that was funny!

05-23-2007, 05:57 AM
Vantage, I've always said the best way of teaching kids about pulleys is to suspend the toddlers from the ceiling!!!

Ava Rose
05-23-2007, 07:28 AM
Oh Vantage you are too funny!

I have a toddler and I am homeschooling a 9 year old and a 7 year old. I had some very trying times. lol. It will get better as the child gets a bit older and can "participate" more. I made my child a "schoolbox" of things just for her. At 1 1/2 and 2 (my dd) preschool stuff doesn't always cut it. So, I had to be creative. Here is what I put inside her box..which I allowed her to decorate with stickers:

old workbooks
chalk and black construction paper
counting bears (for play only...plan on loosing some)
play doh
play foam (like floam but NOT messy and so much better...never hardens)
wooden puzzles
Aquadoodle stuff
deck of cards
flash cards with shapes and colors

All of these things keep her busy for the most part. I will also allow a cartoon or two. However, that is only if you can make sure it is only a cartoon or two. Don't fall into allowing the tv to sit for you while you teach. lol. Ok..now here are some "activities" for your little one to do...maybe he is too little???....messy but works great:

Get some bowls, measuring cups and dry oatmeal...fun will follow. lol.

Get some balls of different shapes and a laundry basket for the child to throw the balls in.

Cup of water, paint brush and aquadoodle pad or wall or one of those books that changes color only when water hits it.

Also, you need to make sure you schedule your day to get all things done. This is what I do and what my toddler does during those times:

Chores Toddler: throws things away, dusts (kinda)

Spelling/Handwriting: each child knows what to do and I am not needed. Toddler: I set her up with her stuff and begin to play with her. I do teach a color and shape a day.

Math Toddler: while I work with one child the other plays with my little one. All are happy! I have not had a problem with this. If a concept needs further explanation I do so while my toddler takes a nap but it seems to be just fine.

English Toddler: during that time my toddler will do an activity that occupies her while I teach. Then while they do their work and/or reading, I play with my little one.

Lunch: Woohoo! Everyone takes a break. I do any quick cleaning up during this time. I am also doing laundry or quick things and cleaning up throughout the day as I get a chance. Which works out fine. Especially with starting the day with chores...sometimes that doesn't happen..lol. However, just about everything gets done. lol.

Before toddler naptime: review on the day...questions...etc. Stuff like that.

History/Science/Project based study. Toddler: Nap!

After that the day is pretty much concluded. Any work that didn't get done gets done while I entertain my child or she entertains herself. Then, the kids all play together while I get some housework done and dinner started.

As time goes on things just flow. Yes, there are some days more challenging than others...as with anything. However, for me...if I plan out my day and stick to it I find I have plenty of time to teach, play, and clean. On days I want to get deep cleaning done or closet organization...that is a day or half day off school....or a Saturday.

Hope that helps!

05-23-2007, 08:57 AM
Empty cereal or granola boxes are perfect for cutting. Faythe would sit for quite a while snipping away. Carl came home once and found her, and got all upset, then was surprised that I knew what was going on and didn't care. My response..."She's busy developing her fine motor skills!" THAT was the day Carl decided that homeschooling was going to be DIFFERENT, and he'd be better off just leaving it to me, at least for the younger grades, lol!

Ava Rose
05-23-2007, 09:02 AM
Empty cereal or granola boxes are perfect for cutting. Faythe would sit for quite a while snipping away. Carl came home once and found her, and got all upset, then was surprised that I knew what was going on and didn't care. My response..."She's busy developing her fine motor skills!" THAT was the day Carl decided that homeschooling was going to be DIFFERENT, and he'd be better off just leaving it to me, at least for the younger grades, lol!

Yes, Phil has been heard asking, "You KNOW she is doing that?" or "You are letting her do that? ahh..ok...ok." LOL.

Cutting is another thing that keeps kids busy! Have a pair or safety scissors that are all plastic and only cut paper. Maybe I will let Roo try it out! Well, not on boxes..they are weak scissors but on paper.

05-23-2007, 09:08 AM
I've never had success with the plastic scissors. The paper bends around the blades and won't cut well. That's why I prefer the cardboard, and prefer a better quality scissors.

05-23-2007, 09:22 AM
Ava Rose, thanks for all the great ideas. I will be giving them all a try. Thank everyone for your help!


Ava Rose
05-23-2007, 12:24 PM
I've never had success with the plastic scissors. The paper bends around the blades and won't cut well. That's why I prefer the cardboard, and prefer a better quality scissors.

Oh...is that why so many tears accompany those scissors? LOL. Actually, I use them to humor. After the kids play with those for a bit you are right...you need better scissors or tears will fall. In fact, if I didn't already have them I would never buy them. So word to the wise...don't bother unless you already have them.

Jennifer R
05-23-2007, 12:37 PM
Oh Vantage, I hadn't read this before now and you just made my day!! We've had a taste of this this year with having my dgd here alot. My oldest dd was laughing this morning that the dgds have been here so much lately that when she got some time with them yesterday at their home, Toni kept going around yelling "Joyce, Joyce!". At not quite 17 mo her vocab is limited but that name is very clear. That and she is hooked on what she calls "kongs" aka Kid Song dvds. We have been picking them up in Walmart for $1 and she loves them. We laugh when she starts singing the next song before it even comes on.

As far as advice, we have just been winging it because I don't have the babies set days of the week so it is hard to set a schedule. Just try not to pull your hair out!

Ava Rose, watch out for hair cuts with the scissors! My oldest dd was 5 when I realized that her braids were not the same in the back. She had cut one off! She then hid it under the rug thinking I wouldn't notice!! A few years later her and her brother cut off one of Jane's braids!

05-23-2007, 01:17 PM
I was standing in the check out line at the library once, with a young gal of about 8 and her mother right behind me. I guess Mom does hair, and was standing behind her daughter, noticing her hair on the top. Mom was commenting, "I don't believe I did such a bad job the last time I cut your hair!!! It's SO uneven! Looks like someone took a pair of scissors to it!" And the girl was trying so hard to keep a straight face. Finally the mom looked at her and said, "You didn't try to cut it yourself, did you...?" The poor gal couldn't keep it in any longer, and burst out laughing. Mom was a good sport. Said she'd straighten it out when she got home, lol!

05-24-2007, 04:36 PM
I forgot to mention Flyswatters.

We keep a few workbooks aimed at toddlers, on topics like same or dirrerent, counting,shapts, colors and the like.

I will go through one of these when the older student is doing some workbook exercises or other work for a few minutes.

Our saxon math manipulatives make great "toys" for the pre-schooler here and we have gotten our moneys worth with just that use alone.

We will start with safety scissors and glue sticks soon.

Ava Rose
05-25-2007, 06:36 AM
Oh yea, nothing like a glue stick in the hands of a toddler. Yep.

05-25-2007, 07:57 AM
I just went to a Preschool Activity Swap. There's a book out there called "Preschool Activities in a Bag". About 16 of us did two different bags - we made 16 of each activity we were assigned to, then we swapped them. I left the swap with 32 different activities for my 2 year old (okay, they're geared more towards 3 and 4 year olds for dexterity purposes).

Some of them are REALLY cool. It was only about $1 a bag to make them, and sooooo fun. Even my eldest help me make them and put them together, we had soooo much fun, it was a neat bonding experience with my daughter AND with all the other moms who were in the same boat.


05-25-2007, 03:47 PM
Hahahaha.. that was a funny eye brow raising post there VANTAGE!!

05-26-2007, 08:25 AM
Thought of this yesterday when he was playing with them...I had printed off the characters from Brown Bear, Brown Bear (I think from dltk-kids) intending to do a felt board thing, but he just loves to play with them and act out stuff. He can really entertain himself for a long time with stuff like that. We say he is going to be a writer!

05-26-2007, 08:46 AM
Ladies, ladies! Watch it!!! Enough of the spewfest!! :p

All such WONDERFUL ideas!! I have had a toddler and a preschooler when i was homeschooling my oldest, and I did NOT have it together, that's for sure! It was a very stressful time for me. I finally realized it was MUCH easier for me if I INCLUDED the baby, toddler, preschooler....into our school day. At first it will take extra effort on your part, but it will eventually make your days run MUCH smoother!!

I have had success with ideas already mentioned here and learned some new ones! Thank you!