I’m fortunate enough to have a career where I work with non-traditional college students. These driven individuals often return to school after working for a number of years, and come back with a variety of experiences and perspectives, and also full families in tow!
I was able to speak to some of them about their tips and experiences for keeping their early learners busy while they’re studying and no one is available to watch the children. See below for five great tips:
1. Discuss responsibilities and give your early learner a job
Allison swears by having the “my job, your job” conversation with her children. She says she discusses how everyone in the family has a job, and that while Mom’s job is studying at home, their jobs are picking up toys, collecting laundry, and other easy-for-early-learner household chores. When the chores are complete, the kids are rewarded with a half hour of their favorite show, or are allowed to use electronic devices until dinner time.
2. Select old toys and clothes for donations
Similar to the entry above, DeShaundra, who is heavily involved in her church, has her children collect old, unused toys and too-small clothing at least once a month for donation. She says, “this keeps both the young ones and older ones occupied for hours because they are making decisions and have to prioritize what they want to keep and what they want to give to those in need. That way I can work for at least a half an hour!”
Hector, a student and parent who is very active in sports, has a whole Olympic Game area in his backyard. “When I have assignments that I can take frequent breaks from, I can go out and watch the kids run relay races, bicycle, and throw balls at targets in the backyard. Paisleigh [the youngest] needs a little more supervision, but she’s becoming more independent each time."
4. More outdoor activities
Patricia suggests outdoor activities such as sidewalk chalk (“It keeps her busy for at least an hour!”), bubbles (“The big wand kind, not the little one”), and the water table.
5. Create an activity station and rotate toys (a new one every day)
Other students suggest using activity stations with Play-Doh, coloring materials, and other rotating crafts. Michael suggests having limited toys and tactile books from the library out each day (or even each hour) to rotate.
Are you a current student? How do you keep your early learners busy during study time? Let us know in the comments!