Teaching our children at home is a challenging task, but it is all the more difficult when there are also toddlers demanding our attention. My children were only about eighteen months apart and when I began teaching my older two children, I still had a two-year old competing for my attention. I will never forget those years teaching children to read, keeping my active child’s attention, and potty training the youngest. Looking back I am surprised that our home was relatively clean and that we had clean clothes and meals on the table every night.
I do remember that things became more manageable when I made it a priority to begin with the youngest child first. That is my tip for today. By giving my youngest attention first thing in the morning, reading stories together or playing with her dolls, she was more content playing on her own when I worked with her older siblings.
While the older two children were reading silently, doing a work sheet, or simply making their beds and doing their morning chores, I spent time with my youngest daughter. Whether we read together, played together, braided her hair and talked, or even cleaned her room together made no difference. All she seemed to need was to know that she was loved and important to me. Then, when it was time to ‘do school’ with her older siblings, she rarely objected to playing independently.
The days that we got busy and I rushed into schoolwork neglecting that time with Christina, were the days that she constantly interrupted and I found myself raising my voice and responding in anger out of frustration with all of my children.
This routine made a significant impact on the tone and quality of our schooldays. It isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it worked in our home and I think it will work in yours as well.