People often ask me how do you homeschool with toddlers? What is the secret? Engaging with toddlers while you are teaching older siblings is a challenge a lot of homeschool moms face. Let me simply share things I did to keep those toddlers busy and yet still learning while I was working with my other children.
First, I took a day or two to go through all their toys, separating them into bins. Certain bins were for the school room and others were to put away. There was also the toy box for them to access daily during their play time. Toddlers seem to always have more than enough toys to go around. Separating and dividing them by the day’s activities helped with focused engagement.
Designating a Toddler Area
Second, I needed an area designated specifically for them during our school time. I was lucky enough to have a school room and each child schooling had a desk, but my toddler needed an area too. Toddlers are most of the time way to active to sit at a desk or table for very long, so I set up a section of the school room just for them. I put a barrier gate up around it mostly for safety. Similar to this idea:
As they got older I would open the sections and put the barrier up to the wall or corner of the room to section the room off for them, like an office cubicle. This gave them an area of their own where their “school work” could be and they felt more included in school time.
Scheduling Toddler Time
Next, I made sure the toys I had separated out were placed in those bins in their school area for during school time only. I also put them on a schedule just like the others with their different bins of toys being their subjects. Their time schedule flowed a bit differently. Most days I could only get about 2 hours out of them alongside of the others doing school work. They alternated through their bins with a timer about every 20 mins to keep their attention. They got into a routine and knew when the timer for them went off the needed to pick up and get the next bin. This worked really well up to about 3 1/2 years old depending on the child. Then we went to the next step. I will cover that in another post.
After the 2 hours, which was usually in the morning, we would have lunch then nap time for the toddler. This is when I dug in with the others to do things I just couldn’t do with them in the morning. Nap time was about 2 hours if we were lucky, but we had at least an hour.
Toddlers Need Mommy One-on-One Time
I was sure to plan some time to just sit and read to my toddlers as well. The toddler years are much too precious to miss out on, so scheduling one-on-one time is very important. When we are homeschooling, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the academics. We want to be sure to plan mommy time too.
Having a curriculum to help you with that teaching presentation time is very useful when you have multiple children. It is just not feasible for one person to teach everything every day to multiple levels.
If you would like to learn more about what I used and recommend for a curriculum ask me >> Homeschool Consulting Free
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The secret to homeschooling with toddlers is simply to include them in the over all plan. Don’t let it be a free for all. They need and want to learn too. Those bins of toys and activities will be learning bins teaching coordination, colors, shapes, numbers, a b c’s and more. Enjoy watching them learn right along with the other children.
What are some activities you use to engage your toddler during homeschool time?