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what do I do with the toddler?


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I've got three kids - older daughter is finishing her "K" year, middle daughter is just starting preschool activities with me and youngest son is a 15 month terror, into everything. I knew that there would be an adjustment when I started adding the preschooler into our school day - my preschooler kept the toddler busy and out of our hair playing in the living room while I did school with the eldest. 

 

Well we started some fun preschool activities today and I'm so exhausted now - the toddler was into everything - he wasn't interested in playing with anything that I gave him to play with, but insisted on climbing onto the table and getting into whatever we were working on, so I spent my entire time directing a 3 ring circus, literally. (a snack didn't even deter him!!)  :glare:

 

I was constantly picking up the papers and various supplies that were being tossed onto the floor as my youngest would literally be on the floor one minute and kicking things off the table the next. (I never knew he could climb onto a chair and onto the table so fast!) :huh: He's even figured out how to wrangle out of the high chair and climb onto the tray and then onto the table... my high chair didn't come with a buckle but it's never been a problem before now - the girls didn't ever try to climb out! 

 

I know I'm not the first one to have this problem, so for those of you who have already solved this problem in your homes, please share your wisdom with me!!

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5 point harness in the high chair, get a new one if needed, check craigslist, it will save your sanity. Then find his "thing". Water? Playdough (there are edible safe recipes out there)? scribbling? A mix of all 3? put together a closed rubbermaid tote of "go things". Not his usual toys, special school ONLY items. I had a big one for the twins.

 

Also will he stay in a play pen? Fill it with soft balls? or mega blocks? or board books that have squeaks, etc? or a mix of all 3. If he "empties" the play pen, time to move to the high chair. Let him do "art" with them. 

 

Move away from too much paperwork with the preK if that is disruptive. tons of ideas on these boards for PreK. Read and do math like CTC Mathematical reasoning beginning (cuddle on the couch with the book, have some blocks handy if you need them, 15 minutes a day is fine to do 2-4 pages). 

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I feel your pain. My 16mo is wandering around us at the moment waving towels that he pulled out of a drawer. The contents of the drawer below that are strewn over my kitchen floor. He tasted each item as he removed it from the drawer, so not only do I have a huge mess to clean but I have a bunch of extra dishes to do too. :(

 

My first child didn't do this!

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great ideas, thanks! 

 

The papers were a stack of resource papers for older daughter's math that I needed to look through to find the correct one for today - I really need to put them in a binder... or find the correct paper the night before. (ah yes, being prepared ahead of time...)

 

The preschooler was gluing Cheerios to the letter A... I had glue in a bowl with a paint brush and cheerios in another bowl... I turn my back for a second and my son had climbed up on the table and was stirring the cheerios with the gluey paint brush, scattering cheerios all over the table/floor.

 

 

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That's a question for the ages, isn't it?  The toddler is always the wild card.

 

Sometimes I pay one of my older kids to read to the toddler while I work intently with the other older kid.  (at $0.05/book it's a good deal for everyone)  My people are nearly 9, 7, 4.5 and 2.5, though, so that may not be a go at your house.  My other advice is to do the heaviest stuff or the stuff that requires peace in the home while the tot naps.  For us that's read alouds and sometimes math.

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I didn't do projects like that while I had a toddler. :lol: My 3 year old learned letters by watching Leap Frog Letter Factory and me reading him books.

 

My youngest was 18 months when I pulled my oldest from first grade at school. It was certainly an interesting year! I utilized nap time as best I could.

 

The good news is... things get better in another year or two, and your older kids are really young. So this year of blur won't be detrimental in the long run. :)

 

Can you have the oldest child play with the toddler while you work with the 3 year old? I usually start with the youngest, reading books and such, then move to the next youngest, then finish up with the oldest. Your kids are at good ages to work serially... read to the toddler, then have oldest play with toddler while you work with 3 year old, then have 3 year old play with toddler while you work with oldest. You could continue that pattern into 1st grade, and by 2nd grade, the youngest will probably be a lot easier to deal with, as the 2nd grader's work load starts to get higher and require more time.

 

It's a season. You can get through it! I have to laugh that my DH didn't want us to homeschool my oldest in K because I had a newborn and he thought that would be too much on me, and then he was totally fine with it when youngest was a toddler, which is a much more difficult stage! :lol: This too shall pass though. You may just have to ease up on your expectations of what "school" should look like. Go outside and use chalk on the sidewalk or draw letters in the sand instead of gluing cheerios. There are a million non-messy ways to learn preschool topics safely around a toddler. :)

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The years my second two were toddlers I did school lite (oldest was in K the first time and this year I had a k and 2nd). I just found for my kids until they were about 20-22 months they were just into everything. So, I did some school during nap, some after toddlers bedtime, some while he ate a meal/snack, some while he played on our back porch, and I didn't worry about it on days we got very little done. Now, if I would have had older kids, I would have probably had to work a little harder. But, for as young as my other kids were, I just didn't think being stressed was worth it. I wanted to enjoy the toddler years and trying to do involved projects didn't meet that goal.

 

Honestly, I think it will be a lot easier for you by August/September. I do think getting a five pt harness high chair will help. I never knew what the harness was for until my 3rd :).

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That's a question for the ages, isn't it? The toddler is always the wild card.

 

Sometimes I pay one of my older kids to read to the toddler while I work intently with the other older kid. (at $0.05/book it's a good deal for everyone) My people are nearly 9, 7, 4.5 and 2.5, though, so that may not be a go at your house. My other advice is to do the heaviest stuff or the stuff that requires peace in the home while the tot naps. For us that's read alouds and sometimes math.

Love this! I have paid my older son to watch my younger son, but I love the idea of paying per book he reads to the toddler. :-)

 

Tell the 3 yo that you are so sorry, but she must give up her education in order to take care of her little brother. That's what they used to do, right? ;-)

 

You've gotten some great ideas, I'll just second the notion that this too shall pass. I remember when my oldest was in 1st, the next was 3, and the 3rd was a toddler. It was a difficult time wrt getting school work done. And here I am again... This time it is 4th grade, 1st grade, pre-k, and a toddler. Toddlers aren't all the homeschool-friendly. :-)

 

Can you invest in a few toddler friendly toys? I think the age you are describing can be difficult, because they aren't babies that are content to sit still, but they aren't able to follow a lot of direction and really play or create quite yet. Perhaps you could hit a local consignment store or goodwill to look for things like wooden puzzles, figurines, any Melissa and Doug toddler toys, etc. Also look into Busy Bags. They have lots of ideas for toddlers. Can you move the schooling area occasionally to somewhere better suited to him? (i.e. Outside or another room) Can you school when dad/partner is home? (In the evenings or on the weekend) Can you put together some sensory bins for him? (We created bins based on color for my little guy. Everything in the bin might be blue, for example. Everything was toddler safe. I would just sit him at my feet and let him explore the bin.)

 

Sorry this is so disjointed! Hopefully I have said something helpful. If not, carry on with your day. Ha ha!

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:) thanks. I think the biggest lesson here is that he's a different monster than my middle child who was content to play with her toys for hours on end without my input... He's the one who likes to figure things out, so I will have to put together some activities that will entice him. I think water might be it right now - he enjoys pouring his cup out on his tray and splashing in it. Given a pot of water and some cups and spoons, who knows how long he'd play happy.

 

I might have to try school in the afternoons during naptime and see how that goes, I just really like getting it all done in the mornings!

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I tried all the toddler suggestions with mine, and ultimately, we just can't get anything done while she's awake. Period. Dd can do some things, like copy work and drawing pictures for her notebook page, but most of our school work happens when the toddler is napping. It isn't ideal, because by that time, dd6 isn't as fresh as she is first thing in the morning, but there's just not a whole lot I can do about that. And by the time dd1 ages out of toddler craziness, the new baby will be aging right in. I just figure this madness has to end some time. :)

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You can teach him blanket time. Basically pick a few quiet special toys and put them on a blanket. Set him on the blanket and tell him not to get off. Enforce this (by putting him back on each time and re-explaining the rules. Start with two minutes, then let him clean up and praise him like crazy. Next day, 5 minutes. Next, 10. And so on. Try to end the session on a high note for him. You'll know he is getting it when he starts playing contenedly, instead of trying to get off. My dd's started blanket time at 18 months and they sit there for over an hour some days playing with toys. It's a huge help with homeschooling.

 

All that being said, from the crawling stage to 18 months (when my girls seemed ready for blanket time), we schooled during their nap time. They have to be ready to learn blankie time, and my girls, at 15 months weren't quite ready.

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Schooling outside helps at our house. The toddler can run free and the older kids can take turns doing some work with me. 

 

It's definitely a challenge, but there are some great ideas posted here that we've used successfully. Of course, even with the best plans, we had a day last week when my oldest two kids were actually working at their desks (usually it's anywhere but) and the toddler was running around and bonking them on their heads with a plunger. Hardly the best study environment, poor kids. 

 

Good luck!

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Your children sound like the ages mine were when we began this school year.  We started out schooling in the mornings during morning naptime, then my youngest quit napping.  So, we switched to schooling during his afternoon nap, but I was tired and it was hard for my oldest to stay focused so that didn't last long.  Now we are back to schooling in the mornings.  Our playroom and school room are the same area so my youngest plays, I'll pull out different toys for him.  My middle sits at the school table and plays sometimes or does her own work sometimes.  If my younger two start getting rowdy, I send them across the hall to my daughter's room.  Some days that doesn't help, so I cut school short and we go read or play, then come back to the schoolwork later.

 

At first there was no way I could have schooled when my youngest was awake, but he is slowly learning how to play on his own for longer periods of time.  My 3 kids all have completely different personalities and some are better at entertaining themselves than others.

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My baby girl is 17mo.  It's more and more challenging every week.  

 

 

My plan is to take a summer break, and regroup with a new and improved toddler-safe space. Our basement is a huge mess, and I want to turn it into a school/play room this summer.  

 

 

2nd plan of attack:  Shoe boxes - lots of shoe boxes - filled with toddler activites.  I can pull one box out at a time, and keep her attention for 5-15min maybe.

 

 

3rd plan of attack:  Leapfrog Letter Factory and Baby Einstien.

 

 

4th plan of attack:  Ergo

 

5th plan of attack:  Give up and call it an unschooling year. :lol:

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Mickey Mouse.

Yeah, I'm a bad mom. Totally rely on that stupid mouse to entertain my 22 month old terror darling while I work with older brother. It works - until he sees us, then he starts climbing out of the play pen, on top of the piano, or whatever he can manage.

Honestly, we do as much as we can in the 2 hours or so that Toddler Monster naps. Blessedly, I only have a kindergartner at home right now, but I'm bringing home again my older gal next year and that'll be... fun :D

Good thing that little boy is cute as a button.

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My 1 yr old is a walking terror. Really. I was always told that all three of my boys were "boy boys" and "active" at this age but this one is another level of nightmare. Yesterday alone he: Drew all over his body and several walls with marker. Took all the dishes out of the kids drawer to the backyard and filled them with dirt. He also filled the drawer itself with dirt. Threw a plate from the dishwasher down the stairs and shattered it. Climbed the chimney (!!) and was found trying to transfer onto the roof.

 

I utilize naptime as much as I can (when he naps, he does not always). We school outside if weather permits. The 4 yr old watches him while the 6 yr old schools and vis versa. We school in a room with a door that can shut, so that we are all locked in there. Sometimes I just let him go at it, as long as its safe. I noticed him taking the dishes outside yesterday, but hey, it entertained him an hour+ and only took 30 min to clean.

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Climbed the chimney (!!) and was found trying to transfer onto the roof.

 

 

Please send him to my house! I'm sure birds are nesting in our chimney, though DH is adamant they couldn't be. Your son could go settle the argument for us!

 

This is our first year homeschooling, and it has been seriously disrupted when we added my infant nephew to the mix. He's now almost 1 and walking. He wants:

To be on his feet and going going going

To be included in everything

To be the center if attention

To explore and discover and try and do....

 

I have a "portable" homeschool I've taken to having my kids work on on the days we have DN. Those days are academically light, but the girls are learning a lot about caring for small kids and balancing the increased work involved with making progress towards desired goals. DN is in the playpen whenever I can't be right there with him, but he's out most of the time he's awake. Our best time for getting stuff done is naptime.

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I love the idea of lots of little shoe boxes filled with toddler activities! 

 

I gave him a cup with several clothes pins hooked on today and that earned me about 5 minutes. (or at least enough time to get DD6 working independently on her next thing). Then I got another 5 minutes as he figured out the clothes pins came apart and he proceeded to take them all apart. 

 

Yesterday I let him play with the spices... bad idea, because he figured out how to unscrew the caps... :lol:

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What saved my sanity when we added a toddler to the mix was many of the activities that everyone has listed. I did take it a step further though by making a little schedule of the "school" activities for her so she'd get into a routine along with us. I matched the times I needed the most concentration with my older children with a video or nap time for the younger then when we did something hands on like science, the toddler would be right there "helping" us. Once I decided what the toddler should do when, then we worked on training her to follow her little routine. Yes, I did use the unpopular training word, because when they're that little it takes lots of reptition and positive reinforcement. We still had plenty of interruptions, but we also managed to get most things done each day; and I didn't feel like I had been herding cats :-)

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We've only been HS for 2 months and I also have 2.5 year old at home 1 thing that I have noticed is that over the course of the weeks with our schedule being fairly consistent My toddler has kind of learned when he can be all over the place with us and when to kinda do his own thing.  He used to want to be all up in the middle of everything all the time but it's lost its shine and he is a lot better about letting her do her work.  So that's one thing to possibly look forward to in the weeks to come.  Also. we try to hold off anything that uses manipulative for nap time.  I give him his own "work" for him to color or paint or cut and I am more lax about what he gets into. If it is not going to cause damage to him or the house I usually let it pass.  Sometimes I allow a t.v to stay on in the play room and he will make a few pit stops in there before resuming his path of destruction.  There is so fool proof method you just move on from plan A to B until you get to Z then repeat :laugh:

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Then find his "thing". Water? Playdough (there are edible safe recipes out there)? scribbling?

When I first read this I thought you were crazy (sorry!). Water? I pictured that scene from the Curious George book where he puts the hose into the house through the window.

 

But today we did school outside on the deck and I remembered your idea. That bucket of water and plastic cups bought me 15 minutes of freedom. After which he poured the whole bucket over his head. But then I gave him a cloth and he spent another 15 minutes swishing the water on his tray.

 

So thank you! Copywork, narration, printing and spelling all done in peace. Tomorrow I might make dough.

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