Congratulations on bringing home a new bundle of joy! Back home from the hospital, your bébé never sleeps more than an hour at a time and you already wish the little crawler could walk! It’s not easy to manage when a new baby comes to stay because everyone gets tired and life goes on hold for a while. You must be trying to figure out how to homeschool your toddler while taking care of the never-ending needs of your new baby. Well, guess what, you’ll soon enter the preschool stage all over again. Although you cannot do much about the physical stress your new baby can bring about, here are some suggestions to homeschool your toddler and make your life a bit easier:
Turn baby care time into home economics class for an older child
In public high schools diapering, feeding, cooing and cuddling are all considered part of a Child Development class. Therefore take this opportunity and teach your toddler the basics and give your older child, one who is ready for such responsibility – the baby to care for one morning each week. This way both your toddler and your older child will gain a sense of responsibility towards their siblings giving you some time to look into other homeschool materials.
Take advantage of natural down times
Babies require to be fed on and off throughout the day and because this becomes part of your daily routine, take advantage of it by encouraging emerging readers to strut their stuff. Pile onto the bed together for an oral history lesson, ask your older child to read a chapter from the book you’re working through together, practise vocabulary, foreign language you’ve been learning as a family or simply come up with general knowledge facts and stories.
Put children under 3 feet tall down for a nap
You cannot entertain smaller children when you’re busy educating an older child therefore make it a rule for all children under 3 feet tall to take a nap for an hour or so and use that time to work with older children on subjects that require one-on-one attention.
Establish quiet time for the entire household
Sometimes establishing an hour or two after lunch time as quiet time can bring back a little sanity into your day. Put your little baby down for a nap and distribute books to children who are both too old and too young to take a nap. You can lie down with a book to supervise your children and as soon as everyone’s had some well-deserved rest, continue with your day. You might even notice that you and your baby face the rest of the day with a better attitude.
A baby’s arrival is a great time to take a vacation from school. One of the best things about homeschool is that you can take a vacation as and when you need. You don’t need to wait for the calendar to tell you to take a break. Although teaching a group of older and younger children can seem impossible but it can be done. Mixing children of different age groups guaranteed some interesting days for the whole group. Here are some ideas to reorganize your life while you juggle your new baby and your toddler:
- Use videos to entertain your little ones when you must have 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with an older child. If your little ones like nursery rhymes or particular cartoons, pop the most-loved videos into the player and allow them to watch while you teach an older child.
- Keep a stash of special toys in your school area. These special toys should be given out to your little ones only during ‘school time’. This will keep them entertained while you go one-on-one with an older child.
- Use nap time to your advantage. As mentioned earlier, when it’s time for your little ones to sleep, you have around a couple of hours to teach older children. If you concentrate on teaching new skills every day, you can get a good amount of one-on-one instruction period while your little ones are sound asleep.
- Hold and cuddle your baby while you teach. Some babies and toddlers love to be cuddled so use that to your advantage. There’s no rule saying that you can’t hold you little one on your lap while you teach. A little bounce once in a while and a nice warm hug is all it takes to keep them occupied.
Take a break once in a while. If you feel exhausted, take an hour or two by yourself to relax and unwind. You can ask a member of your family or your partner to look after the little ones if they are awake, if not, simply take some rest when they sleep.
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