My little ones haven’t gotten a lot of attention on the blog lately, but they aren’t forgotten about in real life! While Care Bear is studying for a CLEP or DSST exam, going to fencing practice, or at her Biology study group, they have to be cared for. Just like with anything else in homeschooling, it isn’t always easy, but there are some fun ways to keep them content and occupied.
Fill the play meter
Even though the little ones in my life can’t tell me exactly what they need throughout the week, I’ve learned I need to make sure their “play meters” are filled up when we need to do something that requires them to be quiet. Tulip, now 9 months old, can’t be expected to sit quietly and color or read a book, but I can try to make sure she isn’t bored before we get somewhere.
Yes, Care Bear gets time separated from the little ones throughout her school day while we are all at home, but I’ve also signed up Little Miss for a preschool class twice a week at the mosque. A three hour class means Care Bear gets a solid four hours of quiet alone time. This has proved to be very rewarding for my teen.
I have a two bags: one with art supplies and other things we can do when we have a table, water supply, etc., and another one I grab just to have toys along at any given activity. The art supply bag has play-doh, paints, old spice bottles with shoe laces (for lacing), marbles, paper, etc. For the toy bag, when I know I won’t have any place to use stuff from the art bag, I just grab a random assortment of toys from around the house, along with tupperware and wooden spoons or other fun things to play with.
When I need to bring Little Miss and Tulip along with to Care Bear’s fencing practice, I know the places nearby that have toys available, and what places don’t. If I need to bring them often, like when Hubby has work to do, I will switch it up to the various places. Know where there are parks, coffee shops with toys, or even a nice department store you can wander around.
Little Miss is old enough to understand some direction, and to understand “later.” She knows that we can do something later, after she has been nice and cooperated with the current activity. All expectations have to be reasonable and age appropriate, of course, but it’s a good time to start learning proper behavior in certain situations.
A hungry kid is a crabby kid! Err on the side of over packing, if you must. Admittedly, I’m terrible at remembering to bring food along and we end up spending twice as much money picking up something easy rather than just packing snacks or a lunch in the first place. So, do as I say and not as I do. 🙂
How do you keep your little ones happy while an older kid has things to do?
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