Engaging toddlers or preschoolers in our homeschools is, well…do I even have to finish this sentence?
It’s fun! Yes, it’s fun. Who’s kidding who? This development stage is fascinating to watch. They’re in awe of everything, are interested in everything, and do it all in picture-perfect ways.
And it’s also exhausting. With or without homeschooling.
But add a homeschool, and arghhh, seriously?! You can’t even turn your back on your kiddo! And how are you going to fit in any homeschool at all for the older siblings?
Here are Nine Tips to homeschool with your toddler or preschooler:
Have a special basket of activities that you pull out JUST during homeschooling. As these little ones grow, they’ll associate this basket with their homeschool activities and become more easily accustomed to the homeschool routine. Bonus! (But NOTE: only take this basket out during homeschool time.)
High chair with straps.
If you must trap said child, make it super trappable, a high chair. And bring out unique activities that they can truly mess around in. Like a set of mixing cups, measuring spoons, water and bubbles, or cheerios, or Whatever your child won’t stick up their nose or choke on. But this tip requires you to EXPECT A MESS (if you haven’t surrendered to this caveat already, acceptance is your only option.)
If you’re averse to screen time, move to the next tip. Otherwise, fifteen minutes of something won’t be the end of your child. But it will give you fifteen minutes of quiet, especially if your kiddo is unaccustomed to screen time.
You’ll quickly learn if your child is an audible learner. There are so many free options found on apps and YouTube nowadays, and of course, many paid book audio options too. Time to implement this brilliant, educational babysitter. (ps I’ve had toddlers that were distracted by this option and others that didn’t register its existence.)
Zoom Chat with grandparents.
One of the best social ideas that came out of the past year: online chats with grandparents and other important people in the child’s life. This could be a show & tell session from grandparent to grandchild or the grandparent could do storytime with grandchild too. What a way to make memories no matter where the grandparents reside.
Do studies in weird places.
Like the bathroom for bath time, the kitchen to “wash the dishes,” or outside in the backyard near play equipment. This tip will help everyone focus on their studies.
Exchange kids with other friends.
If your kids are already attached to special friends, this won’t be a challenge. If they’re at that special age of showing the world who they’re attached to, this tip might pose a challenge that isn’t worth forcing.
But if your child is comfortable with another family, weekly exchange your kids. You take their kids for an afternoon one week, then another week, they take your kids. A great way to create a quiet space with older kids.
Lower your expectations.
This will always be on your list. Always. Cause it will always apply in your homeschool.
When you first read that tip, what did you think I was referring to? Okay, so THAT thing is the thing you need to lower your expectations on. 😉
Have them engage in what the big kids are doing.
Any time in any activity that your toddler or preschooler wants to engage in, include them. Yes, I know, this is NOT easy. In fact, I recognize that you just can’t do this ALL the time because it’ll lead to frequent frustration. (Hence, lower your expectations apply here.)
But you’ve only got this cute (& eager) toddler phase for only so long, so try to frame it as a pleasure, a charm, a joy in homeschool. (Until you don’t, of course. Cause that’s entirely normal too.) Toddlers are just CUTE. Yes, they are. (Well, most of the time. As long as they’re not endangering themselves or wrecking something.) So enjoy them!