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What do I do with my bored 18 mo. old while I teach my K and first grade kids?

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My baby is 18 month old and is bored while I'm teaching my older two kids but the older ones aren't old enough to work very long on their own.  I feel like I'm constantly running from one kid to another and for the most part the baby wanders around bored.  When the other kids get all done with school I'm worn out and hoping nap time is soon for the baby.  This makes me feel bad.  Any suggestions?

by on Mar. 8, 2012 at 8:54 PM
Replies (11-20):
by on Mar. 21, 2012 at 10:29 AM

You have no idea (!) how soon they really will be gone. The here-and-now is a gift. That's why it's called "the present."


Quoting hotdog783:

Thanks Mentormom I appreciate the encouragement.  My older kids are in kindergarten and first grade so they get distracted pretty easily.  I'll keep what you said in mind and try not to wish away these exausting years.  I know they will be gone soon and I'll miss them.

by Helping Hands on Mar. 21, 2012 at 2:48 PM
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When we were getting ready to start homeschooling so many years ago, I had a 2 yo and a newborn on the way.  We attended a hs convention and sat in on a workshop by the founder of My Father's World.  He said, we really shouldn't call it homeschooling but rather family schooling because we're all in school together learning regardless of age.  I took that to heart and use so many of his suggestions even today! My newborn is now 4 and from the very beginning of his life he was included in our school day, either sitting in my lap, sitting in his swing playing with his toys, and then eventually joining us as the table in his high chair.  Don't forget that playing is a way of learning when they are so young.  So we started with little toys, putting shapes into the ball, using the speak and say-pull the lever and it talks, we had leapfrog toys-a drum for him to hit and it would say the letters of the alphabet in english and spanish, a roller leapfrog toy that he would spin and it would say the letter and an animal name.  Eventually, I discovered this outlet wearhouse supply store and found the crayola invisible marker sets and paint sets, so I would let him do those at the table while my other 2 did their work or project.  We would always start with something for the baby, then the next little one up and the oldest would get going on his stuff after.  We also used pegs to help the baby, he would stick them in the board, then stack them up, they were lakeshore I believe-great learning tool too-also suggested my My Father's World.  We did lacing and even used the computer, I like with some headphones, the baby just tapped the keyboard to learn counting and alphabet, music sounds and more.  They have really infant-easy online learning games and my baby loved them! But now, he loves school still and is always willing and ready to participate because he's been trained from birth.  I hope it lasts but if not, I at least have some good times to remember!  The other thing suggested was to give them activities to move around, for example, if your working on colors, make up color cards and put them a bit away from where you are then have your little one run and find the color card and bring it back it to you. It works their mind and their body and will wear out some of their energy.  I use this trick for teaching letters, numbers, what have you and all my kids love it!  Good luck and remember as your older children start learning to read more, have them read to your youngest and occupy the baby in educational ways.  It will help them to build self confidence in their own skills!

by Testing the waters on Apr. 7, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Thank you for your response.  It was helpful for sure.  We used MY Father's World as well and really liked it for Kindergarten.  I'm looking into other unit studies for next year to try and include all three kids which should be fun. 

by Welcome Squad on Apr. 7, 2012 at 2:51 PM

why not have something for your 18 month old to do while you teach the others. a child that young can learn numbers, colors, ABC's, ect. just almost anything a pre-k child can learn so can your 18 month old. I started teaching my daughter all that kind of stuff at 1 years old and by the time she was in school she knew more then the other kids did. she could say her colors, ABC's, count to 10, do simple dot-to-dots, color pictures while staying in the lines. And when she was 2 years old I started to teach her simple math with pictures and or items, like 2+2=4 so if your 18 month old is bored include your young child as much as possible. Because that's their way of saying they also want to learn.

by Welcome Squad on Apr. 7, 2012 at 4:25 PM

 Here's a link you might find interesting:

And this one is a tad bit older but you might want to check this one out too:

I have the 2yr old curriculum from hoh, its pretty neat. I used it for my daughter who's now 5 and will be using it for my son, possibly next school year.

by on Apr. 8, 2012 at 8:19 PM
When my school aged monkeys are doing their work, my toddler does his. If they are reading or writing, he's working on pre-writing by coloring or drawing. If they are doing math, he works on counting. I just find age appropriate variations for pretty much every subject.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by Welcome Squad on Apr. 9, 2012 at 12:43 AM

Check out, I use it for my 3 year old and my 16 month old baby. It is 7.95 a month for up to three kids.

by Welcome Squad on May. 10, 2012 at 6:05 PM

OMG Thanks SOOOO much for pointing me to that first blog!!!! The author is a saint for providing all those tot book printables!!

Quoting Dawn07:

 Here's a link you might find interesting:

And this one is a tad bit older but you might want to check this one out too:

I have the 2yr old curriculum from hoh, its pretty neat. I used it for my daughter who's now 5 and will be using it for my son, possibly next school year.

by Welcome Squad on May. 10, 2012 at 11:41 PM

nap time is the best time for quiet work, actually... you won't be as exhausted.

But... you can also set up some boxes with lids that have different toys and activities in them that the toddler can ONLY have when you school the others.

Also, get a little energy out first, for all of them.  Start your day with some heavy excercise and play, and you will find they all are a lot more attentive.   Also, if toddler has had the antsy taken out, toddler might be ready to sit and listen while you do some read alouds, and more.    You can also sit toddler down for a snack, preferably something they take a while to eat....  (like take off his or her shirt and let them smear food colored pudding all over their high chair tray and paint while you do a lesson.

Also, your older two are so close in age, have you considered consolidating some of their work?   Like they both can do the same handwriting practice, spelling games, flash card races, etc... you can do the same read aloud projects and the same science and social studies... the same art, etc...

The only things you really might have to custom to them is math.... and maybe some phonics/english depending on what levels they are on.

by Welcome Squad on May. 10, 2012 at 11:45 PM


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