Homeschooling with a baby and a toddler can be a challenge, but it can be done. It does require some flexibility. Here are some tips that have helped me to homeschool with a baby and a toddler.
Currently I have a 3 month old and a 2 year old and I am homeschooling my 4 and 6 year olds. I do understand that my children are still all young, and so they don’t need as much school structure as when they will be older. Once they are older they will also be able to help out more around the house, leaving more time for schoolwork for me. That said, we are working on preschool and first grade with a baby and a toddler in the home.
Best tips for homeschooling with a baby and toddler.
Be very flexible.
The first months with a baby have to be very flexible. I try to get into a routine, but sometimes the baby has his own ideas! If I have a mindset of flexibility from the start, then it is much easier to accept the changes to my plans. Even school work can be very flexible. If we can’t get it all done this year, there is next year. These babies grow up so fast that I want to enjoy them too.
Use a carrier and/or swing.
In the first months especially, I like to use a baby carrier or wrap. They baby stays sleeping longer and I can walk around helping the other children with their school work as needed.
I was also gifted with a baby swing when my oldest was born. Sometimes when I need a break from holding my baby, or want him to sleep awhile longer, I put him in the swing. If you can get a baby swing I highly recommend it.
You can find links for baby wraps and swings on my resources page under Basic Homeschool Supplies.
Take advantage of naptime.
Babies sleep throughout the day, and I try to take advantage of that. We only work on school books during the morning so my two year old is still around, but I try to have the baby nap as much as possible during our school times.
Remember what all counts as school.
Learning does not just happen in the books. Learning from experience can actually be better often. I do like to finish the books, but in these baby seasons I like the flexibility and the reminder that a lot of learning can happen without the school books.
Read aloud, maybe even while nursing your baby. Your children will learn a lot, including vocabulary, history, science, and more. Take walks to keep everyone happy, and observe the nature you see around you. All that can count as school.
Use Reverse Planning
One thing I really like to do with my teacher planner is reverse planning. This is where instead of writing out all your goals before hand, you write down what was accomplished. It helps you see so much that can be counted as school work. I include walks and reading to my children in the school work. This helps me to feel more accomplished when I see how much we actually learned, even if we hardly did anything in the books.
Ways to entertain the toddler.
Do some special school time.
My two and a half year old really wants to be in on the school thing too. When we do school time I always try to sit down and do a bit of “school” with her first. We work on some flashcards and a coloring page, and maybe some hands on activity. After some school time with mommy, she is usually ready to play happier by herself.
Save special toys and activities for during school time.
I like to have some toys or activities that come out more just during school time. That way my younger children have something enjoyable to play with that they don’t have at other times. We enjoy shoestring activities and shape blocks, among other activities.
Water bottles and snacks.
I like to have simple snacks on hand for when the girls need a bite and I am busy with the baby. Another thing I always do is have a bottle of water sitting somewhere where the littlest one can reach it. By now the older ones can get their own water, but this was something that I learned was important when I had two under two. The one year old often needed a drink when the baby was nursing, and it saved me lots of interruptions.
Things to Remember.
This stage will pass.
This baby stage is short and sweet, but also very tough and stretching! It will pass, and then you will be able to get back to some things you are skipping out on now.
Give yourself grace in the adjustment.
It is hard to be a mom getting up in the nights and caring for fussy babies. Ask God for strength and wisdom to know how to homeschool with a baby, and give yourself grace. Skip out on what is not necessary for this stage of life.
Enjoy the season.
Someday you will look back on this baby stage, and there will be things you will miss. (There will also be things you won’t miss!) Be flexible, find other ways to learn besides just the books, and enjoy your little ones.
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Frequently asked questions.
Yes, it is totally possible. Find things like baby swings and carriers to help you. Remember that learning happens a lot even if you can’t do all the workbooks for now. Read to your older children, maybe even while nursing. Be flexible, and enjoy this season!
Do a bit of “school” with your toddler so they feel like they can do important things too. Then have some special toys or activities that just come out at school time so they can enjoy playing while the other children study.
Shop this Page.
You can find links to all these supplies listed below on my resource page under Basic Homeschooling Supplies.
Baby Carrier Wrap (I have the Aura Baby Carrier and really like that brand.)
Baby Swing (Mine is a Fisher Price swing. Has worked for four babies already.)
Flashcards (Any simple flashcards for letters, numbers, shapes, and colors would work.)
Coloring Book (Any simple coloring book would work.)
Water Bottles (We have found we like the Contigo brand, but any that doesn’t leak when dumped over should work.)
If you want more homeschool mom encouragement, check out this post by a mom of 10.
What’s your best tips for homeschooling with babies and toddlers?