Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: What to Do with a Toddler During School Time

At the first of the year, Mary started driving me nuts.  Yes, I realize that sounds really bad for a mother to say.  But when we started school back in January, Mary gave up her morning nap which is when we had been doing school.

Since Mary wasn't napping, she had free reign around the house.  Usually, she would end up at my knee, screaming for me to pick her up.  When I did, she would start messing with our school books.  So I would put her down, and she would scream for me to pick her up.  It was a miserable way to try to teach Sarah Beth and Daniel.

I complained mentioned the problem to my mother, and she suggested something that one of her homeschooling friends does:  use a pack-n-play to contain her.

I resisted because it sounded like too much trouble, and I figured that Mary would scream the whole time, making everyone miserable.  But since I was miserable already (and misery loves company), I finally gave in decided to give it a try.

My mother even went to a consignment shop, bought toys, and shipped them to me.

Genius!  Have I told you how smart my mother is?

I'm not trying to say that Mary is perfectly happy the whole time that we do school, but she's much happier than she was.  And now we're all happier and more productive.

Here's what we do:  when we start school for the morning, I wheel the pack-n-play out.  There are toys that I keep in it for when we do school, and only when we do school.  I take a few out before I put her in so that I have something to give her when she gets bored with the ones already in there.  As long as she's playing relatively happily, she stays with us in the kitchen.

But when she gets tired of being confined, I take her upstairs to play in her room.  I have it babyproofed so she can't hurt herself, and there are a few more toys in her closet which I get out for her.  Then I put a baby gate in the doorway so she can't get out.  Usually, Rachel is tired of sitting at the table as well and heads upstairs, too, which is fine.  Sometimes, Daniel even goes, if he's done with his schooling.

School is so much more enjoyable for all of us now.  And when I wheel out the pack-n-play, Mary brings over her blanket and "asks" me to put her in.  She knows the routine now, and she's fine with it. Hooray!

What do you do with your toddler(s) during school time?

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