Thursday, December 3, 2009

What to Do With Little Ones

Just to add to Peace and Preschooler's post that I blogged about yesterday, here are some of my own helpful hints:
  • We did not school during afternoon naps. My kids all stop napping at 2, and my last baby only cat-napped his first year. Also, I need the afternoon for a refreshment time or I become mean mommy/ice wife. Some children learn better in the morning, and some in the afternoon. That is the beauty of home schooling.
  • At one time I had home schooling in the playroom, but now I have home school for the 3rd grader in the dining room, leaving the playroom (downstairs) free for my noisy boys. I also do kindergarten in the playroom, while the 3rd grader is independently working upstairs. My children actually suggested their school spots, by trying their reasonable request I made an improvement to our school day. Everyone's home and children are different, so each mom needs to prayerfully ask God for a creative solution for her own family. Do not forget to ask your husband, God often uses them to solve our problems.
  • When I had an infant, I had a circuit, which went something like this - bouncy seat, baby gym, blanket with toys, different baby gym. This would buy me about 30 minutes, maybe more, I just remember it was long enough to do math and phonics, subjects that required my full attention and two hands. After the circuit, I could easy nurse or hold the baby ( I love to hold my babies a lot!), while helping the older one with their other school work such as handwriting or making a graph like the picture of Ms. G above. There are so many more activities you can add to the circuit, like entertainer, highchair, playpen and swing.
  • Giving the Kindergartner or the Preschooler computer time provides a peaceful time to teach one on one with an older child. As a bonus, the toddler usually likes to watch them play on the computer. Just set the timer, I have accidentally given twice as much computer time as I wanted to.
  • Toys are not just kept in our big playroom downstairs, we have play spaces spread through out the house. While most of the toys are either in the playroom or their bedroom, sometimes I take a stored toy out to the living room. Some educational toys are kept in the dining room (which also functions as our school room). The living room has some Magna Doodles stashed next to the TV, and the kitchen has a drawer of kitchen toys. I must confess, we do have an insane amount of toys, but I do try to create a toy library. Someday I will make pictures for them, like a catalog. Well, maybe I get to do if for my grandkids!
  • Less is more as toys are concerned. Children tend to entertain themselves better when there is empty space. Keeping your home that way is a constant challenge, but it is well worth the effort. Children like a change of scenery, they enjoy playing in different spots during the day. If you have those spaces ready, they choose to change themselves when they start to get board. You may have to teach this skill to some children. When they act up out of boredom, assist them in recognizing that feeling and ask them questions to let them choose for themselves what to do next. Some people find it helpful use a schedule for toys and activities.
  • A Kindergartner can play outside by themselves if you have a fence with a secure lock. I can easily watch my son from the dining room and kitchen windows, while teaching my daughter.
  • There is a dear mom at my home school co-op who has 8 kids and a husband who is a Marine. Once I asked her how she dealt with the little ones, she told me she has special toys for school time kept on a rotating basis. This hint I had heard many times, so I asked how successful was it? How long did it work? She said about 15 minutes. So, keep helpful hints in perspective, do not expect wonders, and remember you are not alone in your struggles!
  • When the older child complains that they want to play like the younger ones, I remind them that they did those things when they were little. Now they are older they have both more privileges and responsibilities. They need to learn now life is hard work. Do not feel bad for them, but you may want to pray for a joyful spirit for them!
  • Remember that this is just a season, older children can be a great help. You will have older children sooner then you can imagine. Just look below how fast my baby grew, my then toddler is now the kindergartner, and my kindergartner is now a 3rd grader!Children are hard work, but they are a BLESSING! What a better way to spend your time, than raising a new generation of strong Believers in Christ Jesus our Lord.


  1. I like the baby circuit idea! I'm going to try that out when Clarie gets a bit bigger...

  2. Thanks for sharing such a great post Karen:) I love the idea of praying for our children to have a joyful spirit. Truth be told, I need to pray that prayer for myself too!

    I agree with your point that less is more when it comes to toys. It's pretty neat to watch what new games and activities children can come up with an *old* toy!