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Help: what do you do with a 1 yo during school?

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I know there is a lot available for preschoolers, but I don't think Schmooey qualifies as a preschooler just yet. I do try to do most of our school when he's sleeping, but the reality is that he's awake for at least some of it, and he's reached an age when he'd really like to be INVOLVED. You know that by this I mean getting into everything, dumping my box of AAS cards, taking the spelling tiles, insisting on sitting with us when we read except not having the attention span so getting up and down and up and down and cranky when we ignore him...


I can put him in the pack n' play for about 20 minutes, which does help. Do you have any fabulous toy ideas that I could put into a special "school time" box? He has all of a sudden cranked his boy-ness up several notches and as cute as he is, I need some better distraction techniques. :D

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Duct tape. :lol:


Okay, now that I've had my laugh for this morning....I'll get serious...and honest.


My baby is 8 mos. and crawling all over the place. Playpen doesn't work, he won't sit in a high chair and play quietly so here is my advice...make your house as baby-safe as possible (hah!), use gates and set up a large area where he can just play w/out getting hurt...preferrably near you and the action. Okay, I know this is easier said than done...trust me. Trouble is...one year olds don't have much of an attention span to focus on one task or toy for very long. I'm hoping you get some more answers!

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C is almost 21 months. He was SO easy until he learned how to climb the dining room chairs and reach all table top surfaces. A pile of toys and a few snacks and he was good to go.


Now... not so much.


He can usually last a little while at the table with his own paper and crayons. Some days he's too wound up to sit independently, but he'll gladly sit in his high chair with paper and crayons.


I've also been known to do two separate lunch shifts, so I can work with the middle two while the baby is eating, and then he'll go down for his nap.

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Can you let the big kids do some independent work while the baby is up? My ds is 18mo and I don't try to do any work with dd when he is up. My dd has learned that as soon as I go to put ds down for a nap, she gets school work out. I try to be sure to get all the things done that she needs me for first, then if ds wakes up, I can entertain him while she finishes on her own.


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I can try to have the girls do some independent work, but the reality is that they don't do much if I'm not watching. :glare: I have also attempted to have one play with the baby while I work with the other one, and that has not been so successful. The older one tends to ignore him so he comes and bothers me anyway and the younger one is so afraid of missing out on something cool that she comes and sits on my lap and lets the baby run amok. I am sure if we keep practicing, they will get better at it.


Isaac is 16 months and mostly eats crayons right now, although he has shown some interest in coloring on his high chair tray. :lol:


So what I'm hearing is there is not much that is a sure-fire "distract the baby" technique and I will have to do what I've been doing and try not to lose my mind. :smilielol5: Gotcha. Thanks ladies.

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I hesitate to say this because I philosophically don't like TV for young kids, and there are recent studies that link TV viewing with autism, but . . .




The Classical Baby DVDs kept my son occupied very well at this age, and the classical music is pleasant to listen to for adults also.



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Simple peg-type shape puzzles. Also other simple wooden puzzles for later...kept them stacked in a clear plastic storage box with the easiest ones on top. Ds finally "graduated" to the most difficult ones (world map, United States map) by the time he was in kindergarten.


Large (Discovery Toys-type) pegs and pegboards--an "easy" type with plastic base and a "hard" type with a foam base.


An old plastic peanut butter jar with a large (1.5 inch x .5 inch...or so) slit cut in the top and 20 old plastic gallon-milk-jug tops. Open jar, dump caps, watch baby try to get the tops back in the jar.


Scraps of felt and a large flannel board for designs.


Magnetic numbers, letters, and shapes (only one set out at a time) to play with on the refrigerator, washer, or dryer (depending on whether we were in the kitchen or laundry room for school).


Magnetic "lap boards" for the above letters, shapes, and numbers.


"Cleaning up" was as much fun for the baby-toddler as making the mess, especially if we sang the "clean up" song. So scooping all the pegs back into their containers was fun.


For older toddlers/preschoolers (past the dangerous stage of putting everything in their mouths) we had an old circular (microwaveable) muffin tin with circles of colored felt glued to the bottom. We had a container (again, love those plastic peanut butter jars!) of colored pompoms (the 1/2 inch type). Color sorting was the name of this game.


I have a jar of large buttons...metallic ones, plastic ones, different sizes and shapes. This was great fun for sorting by size, shape, color, number of holes, etc.


Plastic Place and Trace puzzles from Discovery Toys...a set of three...one was dinosaurs, one was zoo animals, and one was transportation. These were washable (nice for the drooly babies).


Tupperware stencils and colored pencils (again, more for preschooler). Also Little Tikes plastic stencils. The ones that "lock" into place on a lap-desk type of setup were best...little hands couldn't hold the stencil and trace at the same time.


None of these activities was available at any other time than when we were doing school. When the baby-toddler was in the classroom, these items could come out. This kept the activities from becoming too familiar and boring.



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Baby girl is 16 months now, and while she is uber active when she wants to be(she now climbs the baby gate, the stair rails, jumps off the back of the couch onto the seats) she loves school time too when I include her. Large knob puzzles, peg boards, and markers(I strip her down to a diaper for this one), are her favorites. SHe also likes when I put a little bit of water into the old baby bathtub and let her play with it in the kitchen while we do school. She has her own little desk in the livingroom lined up with the other kids(had to get it when she kept stealing Hunter's), and she likes when I put her activities on there. The bonus to doing school in the livingroom is that is where all her toys are including her riding toys and little slide so that keeps her safely active within my sight.


When something has to be worked on without her interuptions we rotate the kids to play with her for 20-30 minutes so the other 2 can work then they switch. And when all else fails I pop in a dora or dragontales movie to keep her happy long enough to administer a test, or teach a group lesson etc.

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Someone forgot to tell me that all things in a house with a little one are not supposed to be limited to 15-20 minute increments.

Some of my supplies: container of magnets (big ones) for the fridge - music playing ones are great, although noisy. A separate drawer of plastic ware for the litttle one to play with, along with some wooden spoons.

Magnadoodle worked well at the table, as mine were always fond of the taste of crayola as well (and my youngest even would eat the tips off the markers).

I frequently made forts out of furniture/blankets/silks to allow for fun as well.

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Okay. We've homeschooled before our last experiment with a classroom situation and we're back at it. My boys are 4 years apart currently going on 10 & 6. When oldest was working on math, my dh would keep youngest out of my hair for that first hour if he was home or I would pop in an educational dvd or two (Leapfrog is awesome!) to at least keep him happy for an hour.


My youngest was very physical and destroyed his crib by shaking the sides when he wanted out so I was afraid to put him the playpen for long. I didn't want that destroyed too. :lol:


Another option: sometimes my youngest would wake up as late as 9 and my oldest seemed to get up around 7 with no problems. So I would feed oldest with enough time for him to chill out until 8 and work on math (or whatever your olders need direct instruction from you for) for that quiet time before baby wakes up.


If your little one's waking time is relational to his bedtime, what about putting him to bed later than the others so that he'll sleep later? Nothing wrong with having breakfast saved for him for when he wakes up. It may buy you extra time for instruction-intensive subjects.


Hope this helps and that I didn't ramble too much.



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