I want to give you an update on the kitchen project, but first we started back to school yesterday. I do not want to jump to conclusions because I am sick and my head feels like it is at the bottom of a swimming pool, however what do you do with toddlers? We have had a successful two days with the actual students, but the two year old is driving me mad. Whenever my attention is required by school, Marian either plants herself in the middle of it, grabbing the books, rolling on laps, and climbing all over us or, alternatively, she drags a stool all over the downstairs in order to climb into the pantry, the fridge, the countertops, the kitchen table...
Quietly playing near us does not seem to be an option in her book right now. She either demands attention or is bent on destruction, which I realize is a demand for attention in disguise. When I am not directing my attention specifically at a child, she will play to her heart's content, but when she sees me paying attention to a child who is not her, she jumps at the opportunity. I understand this is probably sibling rivalry at a base level. But what do you do waiting for this phase to pass?
This is pretty much par for the course for us as well. It doesn't last forever and it helps to have something really interesting to play with for 5 minutes. Best thing is to work with one kid while another watches/plays with the baby. Set a timer. Our current two year old is an absolutely freaking monster and gets into everything so I feel ya. Also, God bless nap time.
Lots of strategies employed in rotation.
- Move schooling to a room from which escape is impossible.
- Assign the other children to play with her.
- Give her meals while the other children are schooling.
- Have decoy school materials for her and trick her into thinking you are teaching her at the same time.
- Figure out how much video time you are ok with, and use it.
Sounds like you are getting some great advice! The one thing I would add based on my experience working in the behavior program is to consider this a learning time for her, too. The skill she's mastering is how to work independently *while sharing your attention*. So maybe you can reframe the behavior as an undeveloped skill that can be taught and reinforced.
We would give an instruction like "Your job is to play with ____ while mommy is working." Some of the strategies we used were a timer set to increasingly longer times, stickers or basket of reinforcers (small fun toys) which she could choose when she makes it to the beep without interrupting you. Every once in a while, we would catch her being good and give a high five/praise/thumbs up for doing her job without interrupting you. We also had activity baskets prepared in advance that were switched every fifteen minutes.
This may sound like too much work right now, but it might be something to think about when the homeschooling rhythm gets easier.
These are all good ideas. I just needed a little kick to make the brain work.
I've talked to Grace about keeping up with Marian when I am with Olivia which is where the bulk of the problem is occurring. We are going to start with playing and book reading and see how that goes.
I need to remember she has paper and crayons and we can use them.
Feeding her while they works does fine first thing in the morning, but she wants no part of it at lunch.
One of the laments in my life is that there isn't a room in the house that is actually toddler-proof. It's a goal, but I'm not there yet. Also there are no inescapable rooms for this girl. She busts through doors, locks, and gates with abandon.
I do need to be proactive in my approach with her instead of weeping that she is acting like a toddler. Sigh. I will look around for school-like materials to engage her a little better instead of saying, "stop, stop, stop" all the time. The cold is interfering with my brain function.
She was so cute folding laundry! Maybe you could just do a simple rotation that is similar every day so you don't have to think too much about it: eat, fold a basket of washcloths, puzzle/block play, move items from one side of the room to the other with a toy shopping cart, coloring page, dance video.
One more video that kept my toddlers mesmerized was a series of videos called Preschool Power. It shows small children doing things on their own and mine learned a lot! There are a few sample videos on Youtube if your library doesn't carry the DVD.
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