how to homeschool with babies and toddlers

How to Homeschool with Babies and Toddlers in the House

There’s always that question when you jump into home school, “What do I do with my kids that are not yet school age?”

I don’t think there was a simple answer to this question. It will look different for each family. Hang in there. Give it some trial and error and you will find a rhythm that works for your family.

Here are some ideas that I hope will give you a good starting point…

How to homeschool with Babies and Toddlers in the House:

Choose a Home School  Style that Fits Your Family

Find a home school approach that gives you liberty to still mother your other children.

I think this goes without saying, but consider the needs of the whole family before choosing a style of home school that is going to require intensive parental involvement.

If your approach has you sitting at the kitchen table for three hours, pouring over school with one child while your toddlers and babies run wild…might I suggest another approach?

Keep Lessons Short and Breaks Frequent

Don’t let your kids get to the point of exasperation, keep things moving. Shorter lessons help keep the homeschooler engaged while making the littles more cooperative.

(If you have a high schooler, hopefully they can be more independent. Working on longer lessons that won’t necessarily require your undivided attention.)

Spend Time with the Littles First

Sometimes just filling their ‘love tank’ is enough to satiate their constant pursuit for attention. Maybe some cuddles, or a tickle session is just what they need to give you an uninterrupted morning of homeschooling.

Have Some “School Time” Only Activities

I think this is my go-to. It doesn’t take much to entertain little people. If you pull out things that they don’t normally get to touch or play with, it usually keeps them pretty enthralled.

You might laugh, but these are the big ones at our house: Putting silicone muffin liners in the muffin tin…over…and over…and over, OR drawing on a printable folder…with a dry erase marker…that doesn’t work. (cap on, cap off, cap on,…etc.) ?

ALSO, here are some resources that I’ve made for my preschool-age kids:

Create a Baby-Safe Zone for Roaming and Play

If your space allows for it, create a baby/toddler safe zone. One where you don’t have to worry about them putting small things in their mouth, getting into things they shouldn’t, or hurting themselves on furniture.

Ideally, it would be in sight where you can monitor as you homeschooling your child.

Include Them

We always start our home school day off with group reading. Everyone is welcomed to sit and listen or play quietly while listening. More often than not, they choose to cuddle and listen.

School is happening and the kids are taken care of—double win. And you might be amazed how much of the information your little ones retain.

Babysitting Practice for Older Siblings

Have an older sibling play blocks or read a book with the younger ones while you get a lesson in with the other child. (Our five-year old is getting great babysitting practice in, she will be worth her hire here in a few years. ;))

Electronic Entertainment

Perhaps cartoon time or an educational app is what you need to squeeze a math lesson in. Don’t feel bad, this is just a season, pretty soon those littles will be doing home school as well.

Take Advantage of Nap Time

If all else fails, just wait until the rug rats are napping to get those lessons in that require quiet or parental assistance.

Enlist Dad’s Help

Perhaps there is one subject that is not getting done, or is too demanding while a baby is fussing and a toddler is demanding… wait till dad gets home and let him share in the educating process (or at least watch the littles) while you can give the deserved attention to the task.

How do you homeschool with babies and toddlers in the house?

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  1. Hi Jessica, some great tips on homeschooling! I am sure it can be a juggle watching the little ones and teaching the older kids. A baby safe zone is important , and what a great idea having babysitting time ! Dad might actually enjoy doing some of the teaching too. How are you doing? Hugs, Terri xo.

  2. My oldest is 6 and she has 3 little siblings, the youngest being 5 months. All of your tips we have used and they definitely help! I will say that focusing on lessons that are not only short but give the most bang for your buck is what has helped us the most. If a book/lesson you are using just isn’t working then try something else (another reason not to invest in curriculums when your kids are very young). My daughter was getting very frustrated with her reading book we were using (that EVERYBODY recommended) and she just wasn’t getting it so it made the few minutes of uninterrupted time we had useless. UNTIL I tried something new (BOB Books) and now we do a quick review and then she reads the books to me (sometimes while I’m nursing the baby). It has been a huge relief and sanity saver just to switch that one thing.

    1. Yes! Exactly! It doesn’t help anyone if you try to make something work that just isn’t working. Great addition to the list, thanks. P.S. We love the Bob Books too.?

  3. These are good suggestions. But wish to ask Jessica, what can we do if the child has learning disability? Like autism or down syndrome. It makes things much more complicated. But having some options here would be very helpful to many parents

  4. Great article Jessica! I don’t have children of my own but I do have a friend with kids that is trying to homeschool one of them for the first time. She was unsure how to do it correctly, so I shared this article with her to give her some ideas. Long story short, my friend found this post useful, so I want to thank you Jessica for sharing this information. You were a big help. ?

  5. Thanks. That was needed for me to start again today..this week had been a homeschooling chaos. This article gets me ready to try again with new ideas and hope.

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