As long as I’ve homeschooled (and we’re into our 13th year now), we’ve had a baby or toddler, plus a preschooler in the house. Keeping the homeschool plates spinning in the air is tricky enough with multiple ages and personalities, but the littlest ones are really who keep us on our toes.
Setting up a very casual toy rotation has been key in getting some time to read aloud together- one of my absolute favorite things to do with my kids! I love the discussions that come, the play that evolves, the snuggle time and the possibility to inspire them (and me) with beautiful language, ideas and stories.
I have a few bins of different toys that only come during these times: lincoln logs, lace-up cards & chunky wood beads, blocks, drawing supplies, playdough, and wooden play food are in my current stash. Anything that keeps little hands busy & minds engaged, with enough pieces to not fight over works beautifully.
Knitting, corking, weaving friendship bracelets or beading projects are perfect for the older ones (and for me, when we find a good audio book.)
If not occupied with their own project, the older ones want to get their hands on whatever play is happening on the floor. We can usually get a stint of 30-60 minutes this way (punctuated of course by questions, snack requests and the occasional squabble.)
It’s wild & lively around here most of the time- and try as we do, read-aloud times are occasionally a total bust! But some of my favorite parenting memories are these moments when they settle in, play hard and beg for “just one more” chapter. We get lost in the setting, the characters feel like old friends and we feel sad when they’re over. So we push through and try to be consistent and most of the time, it works well. Which makes it all worth it.
Reading aloud with little ones close by: how do you do it?
(Note: first attempt at phone blogging while my poor laptop gets some much needed professional attention! Actually really simple- who knew?)