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Parenting | 4 Minutes

5 Tips to Help You Homeschool with a Toddler in Tow

Sarah Carrig Written by Sarah Carrig
5 Tips to Help You Homeschool with a Toddler in Tow

Homeschooling in and of itself can feel daunting to families who are just starting out. Adding a newly-walking little one into the mix can make things exponentially more challenging. How do you give appropriate attention to your big kids while making your toddler feel loved? What if everyone isn’t getting all of their school work done? How do you entertain those little hands long enough to keep your sanity?

We asked the homeschooling families on our Facebook page to chime in and they offered a lot of great advice! So much, in fact, that this is just the first post in a 3-part blog series on homeschooling with toddlers. Be sure to check out part 2 and part 3!

Before you go farther, stop and take the advice that Pamela K. gave: “Pray and read the Word first, asking for Christ’s help.” From there, check out the 5 tips below!

1. Have grace and be flexible

Grace, grace and more grace! For yourself, for your distracted, frustrated children and for your toddler who inevitably will get into something at some point when you're deep in the middle of a lesson. I always try to remind myself that this is just a season, it's not forever. Emily P.

Remember that short sprints of learning time is better than “waiting for the perfect time” to teach a lesson. Some days just reading aloud to the kids and a walk is perfectly fine. Embrace and plan ahead for interruptions. Your older kids will be learning patience and flexibility and also watching how you handle the toddler interruptions. Breath, pray, hydrate, eat well, laugh with your kids, choose joy during this season. – Igne M.

Be gracious with yourself. Some days we just get one subject done; it’s all working out okay. My older kids aren’t really behind, and even if they were, they can “catch up” when they are a little more independent and the toddler is doing more formal learning. – Heather M.

2. Help them feel included

Love on them and make sure they feel welcomed. If we treat them like a pain, they will fulfill that expectation. April P.

I used to give my littles an old half-written-in school book - spelling or math or something - and tell them that it was THEIR schoolbook. They loved pretending they were doing school alongside us Shannon C.

They had their own shelf full of playdoh, manipulatives, crayons, water wow books and play toys and their own table. They felt like they were doing school with the big kids (and they were!) Freida N.

I try to mix subjects so that the toddler/preschooler can be involved periodically. Our English curriculum has simple activities the toddler can do. If they’re coming around often, we may pause and read aloud or take an outside break. Or I’ll pull him to my lap while I’m giving instruction. Then he’s soon squirming to get down to go do something else. Heather M.

3. Have a nap time and use it well

Depends on the age of your students. If you’re teaching just early elementary kiddos you should be able to homeschool spurts, taking advantage of naps/rest times. – Sandy B.

NAP TIME! I make sure that toddlers transition into one hour of quiet/reading time. Rita B.

Utilize their naptime to get the more involved subjects done with your older kids. Susan H.

4. Teach them how to enjoy time alone

Have them practice "alone time" play. It's a good practice for everyone to be able to step away and be alone, so start training those toddlers now. Susan H.

After doing some pre-planned activities with us, he’s “allowed” to go play independently (the terminology really motivates him to leave us and play in the other room!). – Charity B.

5. Don’t feel guilty about occasional educational screen time

Silly Songs for Kids and Blippi were big helps while the older 3 were working on intense parts of their lessons. – Jayne D.

Reading eggs and math seeds app on iPad helped a lot! – Freida N.

Preschool Prep DVDs! My little guy has learned so much from them and he knows it's time for him to "do school" while his big sisters do school. Destrie H.

Veritas Self-Paced courses are a great way to give your bigger kids some independent work so that you can give your toddler some 1:1 time (or when done during the toddler’s naps, can give you a little much-needed down time!) – Sarah C.

We hope these tips from our families have given you some much-needed inspiration and encouragement! Be sure to check back soon for a post on some of our families’ favorite toddler activities.