Homeschooling older siblings comes with its own set of challenges, and when you have a toddler in the mix, things can get a bit more challenging. Balancing the needs of your older children with the demands of your energetic toddler requires creativity and flexibility.
In this blog post, we’ll explore eight creative ways to keep your toddler happily engaged while you focus on homeschooling their older siblings. This is not a one size fits all, so approach each of these as they fit your family needs and dynamics. I will also add, one week something may work great and the following week your toddler is not having it. Give yourself grace as you find inspiration through these ideas.
Sensory Play Stations to Keep Toddlers Busy During Homeschool
Set up sensory play stations with activities like kinetic sand, water play, and finger painting. These hands-on experiences not only captivate toddlers but also help in their cognitive development. If you are a open and go kind of mom, try Amazon for some great pre-assembled sensory kits like this one and this one.
Quiet Time Activities
Designate a quiet time area filled with age-appropriate puzzles, coloring books, and interactive storybooks. This provides your toddler with a calm and engaging environment, allowing you to concentrate on homeschooling. We personally choose to do homeschool learning time in the same area that the toddler plays. This allows him to feel included, but independently work on his own activity.
Involve Toddlers in Homeschooling Time
Honestly, this one is my favorite. Incorporate your toddler into the learning process by giving them simple tasks like sorting objects by color or counting. This not only makes them feel included but also nurtures their curiosity. I always print two coloring sheets or activity sheets, even if it is more advance for him. He feels included to have a sheet like his brother and is learning valuable skills while he sits and observes with us.
Toy Rotation for Toddlers
Create a rotation of special toys that only come out during homeschooling hours. This has helped us so much! Because he is 2, I have taken some of his recent birthday gifts and tucked them away. I bring out one or two during homeschool time. This keeps the novelty factor alive and prevents boredom from setting in too quickly.
Music and Movement for Toddlers
Channel your toddler’s boundless energy through music and movement activities. Dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments can provide an outlet for their enthusiasm while older siblings learn. Consider a dance pad like this one that only comes out during this special time. We have an instrument bin that my toddler loves to dig through and explore. Granted, this activity could be distracting for older siblings, so use your discretion for your family. If you are a family that allows screen time, Miss Rachel on YouTube has great shows that include dancing and music.
Outdoor Learning with a Toddler
Take advantage of outdoor spaces for exploration. Picnic lunchtime learning is great for this! Whether it’s a nature walk, backyard treasure hunt, or a trip to the park, outdoor adventures offer both entertainment and learning opportunities.
Easy Crafts for Toddlers
Engage your toddler in simple craft projects that align with the older siblings’ subjects. For instance, if the older children are studying history, your toddler can create their own “prehistoric” art using basic materials. Currently my 2 year old is happy if he gets to glue something. Sometimes I just let him glue the scraps of big brother’s paper cut outs on a larger piece of paper.
Homeschooling older siblings while caring for a toddler might seem like a juggling act, but with a little planning and creativity, it’s entirely manageable. By incorporating sensory play, quiet time activities, involving them in learning, and other engaging strategies, you can strike a balance that benefits both your older children and your enthusiastic toddler. Remember, flexibility is key, and don’t hesitate to adapt these ideas to suit your family’s unique dynamics.