OT: My great 2 YO distractor

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OT: My great 2 YO distractor

Postby MelInKansas » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:49 am

In the continuing saga of me trying to refine our schedule, so we can get school done quickly and have time for all the other things our days often hold, today I made an observation and thought I would ask you lovely, experienced, wise ladies what your thoughts are.

My 2YO is not really able to do something on her own for very long. Especially if she is in the room with us. Today as my 6YO was writing on the white board, I gave the 2YO the washable dry erase markers and her own white board to write on. She loves this, and rarely gets to do it, so I figured we would be undisturbed for 10 minutes at least. No, after every little thing she does, or when she wants to put a cap back on a marker, or whatever, she is always interrupting us. And again, I see that this has been the pattern whenever she is in the room with us, the only exception is maybe when we are at the dining room table working and she is running around instead. She always has something to say to me, or something to show me. Today she was in the other room playing, right next door to us, and she came out twice to tell me she had finished something or figured something out.

Another example - during crafts time, she is at the table with us usually, she likes to color, and she is fascinated by scissors even though she really can't use them yet. Once again it seems it has to be all about her, because she needs help with everything. It's not such a problem during craft time, because usually I can get the other two started with what they have to do and then I am by the 2YO's side. My 4YO needs help sometimes too. Maybe this is just normal if you have a 2YO who wants to be at the table too... I don't know.

I have just allowed this, not realizing what a distraction and interruption it is. And I've always wanted to be responsive to my children, I don't really see how I could either train or even encourage her to not talk to me for an hour (or even 5 minutes) at a time. She is very talkative. I suppose there is training about interrupting adults, I have never been very good with that with any of my children (the older ones kind of get it now, but I never taught them at a young age not to interrupt me).

I see this as a different problem than just "how do I keep her occupied while we do school?" Because I am doing my level best to give her things to do, the problem is she thinks she always needs to have my attention sometime during it. Again, the best uninterrupted time I get is when she is in her room for 20 minutes or so, she has a closet full of toys that are just for room time and I pull 1-2 of them out and turn on some music for her.
Melissa
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

DD12 - Rev to Rev + DITHOR 6/7/8
DD10 - CTC + DITHOR 2/3
DD7 - Bigger + ERs
DS5 - LHFHG
DD2 - ABC123
2 babies in heaven
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Re: OT: My great 2 YO distractor

Postby kamariden » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:03 am

Don't have any advice, but I'm interested to see what others say, too. :)
Happily Married to Luke since 2001
Ethan - doing LHFHG part time, will begin BLHFHG fulltime Jan. 2012
Quintin - doing part time LHTH.
Liam - studying the art of annoying his brothers and taking out anything that has been put away. (toddler)
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Re: OT: My great 2 YO distractor

Postby Heidi in AK » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:14 pm

Melissa, I don't have any stellar advice, but having a 2YO and just one other, I can tell you I understand. I will also tell you that I think one of the great opportunities the Lord provides for those of us who have LO's is to learn how to integrate them WITH what we do. I read a really convicting poem on this, and I want to say it's called "Because of the Little Ones" or something like that, but it is a tear-jerking poem (or at least it was for me) about how we have a golden opportunity to weave our tinies into what we do, instead of brush them to the side. I'm not saying you are doing that, because you are probably much more gracious than I. For me, I realized that I was getting impatient quickly, which was making it much worse.

I wish I could find the poem; it's probably on some popular homeschool blogs, or even in this forum somewhere.

DS2.5 loves to color and cut when DD5 is doing her handwriting and math, as well as listen in while we do her storytime and reading. However, I don't have two curricula to balance, only one. I let him, and that goes against every OCD grain I have. Today I had to clean up cutting scraps, but I did notice he held the scissors correctly, and kept his little fingers away from the sharp edges! I just let him cut, and he was happy as a clam for twenty minutes or so! His coloring book is mangled, though, but for a buck a piece, I guess it was worth it!
Heidi
loving teaching my rewards!!!
Girlie (dd7) - Beyond, 4 days/week
Boy-o (ds4), LHTH, along for the ride!!! (all boy, whatever he can get his hands on, FULL OF ENERGY!)
Psalm 78:3-7

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Re: OT: My great 2 YO distractor

Postby LovingJesus » Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:41 pm

Does she still nap? Nap-time is some of my best teaching time. My two year old eats lunch around 11:30 or 12 and then goes down for nap. Then I know we have approximately 2 hours of solid teaching time that is highly productive. I don't know what I will do when she drops nap!

Now the other side of the coin. I clicked onto your thread because I need ideas too. The toddler years are a blessings & a challenge (especially with home schooling, I think.)

My children are 8,6,4, & 2. So I have always home schooled with a baby or toddler or both. I have never come up with any really good answers, but somehow we have managed to home school.

I do remind myself of something often each morning though, so perhaps it helps me more than I realize. My 2 year old can be very demanding or fussy or scream in the first 2 - 3 hours of the day. If I try to home school, without responding to her, it doesn't work. If I remember to remind myself to sit down and fill her emotional tank for 20 minutes it brings the family together. I will sit on the coach and pull out books for her age. The next thing you know the other 3 are playing quietly or looking over my shoulder at the book. She calms down, and then the morning goes much better. After awhile she wants to get down and play on her own - at least for a little while.

Other ideas:
Sometimes I hold her while I teach or feed her or give her crayons. It seems like a constant changing of what works every 5 minutes sometimes. This is why in all honesty her nap time really is my easiest teaching time of the day.

I look forward to reading other ideas too!

Blessings,
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Re: OT: My great 2 YO distractor

Postby my3sons » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:35 pm

MelInKansas wrote:...I see this as a different problem than just "how do I keep her occupied while we do school?" Because I am doing my level best to give her things to do, the problem is she thinks she always needs to have my attention sometime during it...

This is an excellent observation! :D I do think that those are 2 different things to consider - having things to do and doing them independently. I think you are on to a good idea here...

MelInKansas wrote:...Again, the best uninterrupted time I get is when she is in her room for 20 minutes or so, she has a closet full of toys that are just for room time and I pull 1-2 of them out and turn on some music for her...

I worked to train our 2 yo to have a blanket time. I put a blanket on the floor somewhere near us, with a bunch of toys set out, and a favorite stuffed animal or blanket on it. I sometimes had the older dc begin the activity to get the 2 yo going - i.e. stacking blocks in a tower, put together a shake and go car track and start shaking and racing cars, etc. - and then walk away. I set the timer and let my 2 yo have his snack when it rang. I let him know I wanted him to play on the blanket until it rang, and if he did, then he could have his snack. If he got off the blanket, I said I'd start the time over. I began with 10 minutes, and we worked up to 30 minutes. :D Snack time was great too, as he was quiet as he was eating and drinking. :)

You can do this same type of independence training within your dd's room, as you've already begun to do. I think it helps to set up little vignettes of fun in different places. Yes, it takes more time to pick up, but it is worth the time it gains. :D Like you, we found turning happy music on helped. Perhaps when dd has stayed in her room 20 minutes, without coming out, then she could watch an educational video (like Barney). We do this, but we don't have tv on the rest of the day, nor at night, so it's special. This depends on your family's view of this, of course. :D Or, maybe the reward is mommy reads a few books to dd. Either way, working up to 30 minutes in her room would be reasonable.

It seemed to work to start small with training, with just 1 or 2 things at a time (i.e. the blanket, and the room time), for short time increments, setting the timer, and following a successful independent time with something the child would feel was special (i.e. snack time, a special video, etc.).

I agree with the filling of the emotional tank that others mentioned. This goes a long way. It is why we started LHTH half-speed at a young age with Emmett. :D I do think your 6 yo and possibly your 4 yo could have a short play time with your 2 yo as well, to fill that emotional tank too. It seems like an ebb and flow of together with someone, independent, together with someone, independent, etc. seems to go well at our house. HTH!

In Christ,
Julie
Enjoyed LHTH, LHFHG, BLHFHG, BHFHG, PHFHG, CTC, RTR, RevtoRev, MTMM, DITHOR, WG, WH, USI, USII
Currently using USI, RevtoRev (oldest son Liberty University Business Finance)
Wife to Rich for 24 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 19, 16, and 12
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Re: OT: My great 2 YO distractor

Postby MelInKansas » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:52 pm

Thanks everyone for the thoughts! Reading these does make me feel like maybe I can improve things a bit so that our day flows more smoothly, which right now is the goal. I kind of feel like I need a planning day, like I took before we started in July, in order to get back on track here!

LovingJesus - I had heard that before too, about giving them some time and attention first. I definitely want to consider that. I used to have a one-on-one time scheduled with my 2YO and that has fallen away because it's not really "school" that "needs" to get done. I should really look at incorporating that again.

Julie - The blanket time is a great idea! I need to list out some ideas for what she can do for blanket time, but I think the reward would really encourage her and make her feel like she was doing something good. And I want her to feel good about what she's doing, right now I often feel like I'm always shushing her and much of my talk to her is negative during school time. A short blanket time along with room time would probably be sufficient for us to really get some things done. My 4YO plays with my 2YO for a short time while my 6YO does copywork and LA (and sometimes math). My 6YO plays with my 2YO while I do phonics with the 4YO. Again, with all those things combined, I think our day could really work well!
Melissa
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

DD12 - Rev to Rev + DITHOR 6/7/8
DD10 - CTC + DITHOR 2/3
DD7 - Bigger + ERs
DS5 - LHFHG
DD2 - ABC123
2 babies in heaven
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Re: OT: My great 2 YO distractor

Postby my3sons » Wed Nov 02, 2011 3:24 pm

Oh good - I'm glad to help! I hope something here works out, and I think your dc are very blessed to have a mama who is carefully planning their day so it goes the best it can! :D I so hope your little one takes to blanket time - it may take a bit, but it sure is a wonderful thing when they get it. :D

In Christ,
Julie
Enjoyed LHTH, LHFHG, BLHFHG, BHFHG, PHFHG, CTC, RTR, RevtoRev, MTMM, DITHOR, WG, WH, USI, USII
Currently using USI, RevtoRev (oldest son Liberty University Business Finance)
Wife to Rich for 24 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 19, 16, and 12
Sister to Carrie
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Re: OT: My great 2 YO distractor

Postby Carrie » Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:44 pm

:D Great ideas have already been shared in this thread. :D I only have a moment this evening, but I thought I'd paste a response I posted at one time about possible ideas for a 2 year old. The post is long, but if you remember that you're just looking for a few ideas as you read then it won't feel overwhelming. :D Maybe something in the post will be a winner for you. :D

I agree that schooling with a 2 year old (or any toddler) can be very interesting! It will be even more important to figure out a routine for that particular child than it is to schedule your older two. This is because a 2 year old can make the best laid schedule come apart at the seams very quickly. :D

So, with that in mind, I would begin the schedule thinking of how to keep the 2-3 year old moving from thing to thing every 20-30 min. I would take time to truly train that child with his/her schedule, as this will make your school day go so much better! This can be done in stages, so don't get overwhelmed with my post below as it just full of ideas that you can gradually consider doing whichever ones might work for you! Just think that anything you do for your 2-3 year old will really pay off! I'll combine some of my previous posts below of things we've done with our schedule for our little ones at that age, and you can see what might work for you. :D

A few things that we've done that may be of help to you as you ponder your 2-3 year old's day are as follows:
We usually let our little ones sleep later in the morning and get up when they wake up. This means we do two shifts for breakfast as the older boys do get up and get started on time. The little ones eat when they come down. We make oatmeal and leave it on warm on the stove, as it can be eaten easily anytime. Our other breakfast is eggs in the microwave that the boys make on their own. Just crack one-two eggs in a microwave safe cereal bowl, stir, microwave and add a touch of salt or shredded cheese when they're done. We add yogurt and peanut butter toast and breakfast is a quick affair. This allows us to eat in shifts as needed. Our meals where we typically sit down together to eat as more as family are lunch and dinner. :D

Another thing that helps is for us to start the 2 or 3 year old early on his/her lunch. The little ones are usually hungry earlier than the older ones, so having them begin eating early is helpful. It buys me about 20 min. more work time with my other children. We usually work right at the table where the little one is eating, so that child feels a part of what we're doing, but is happily engaged. Once the little one finishes eating, he/she is happier as we read aloud with the others at lunch and is more willing to either go play or play with cupboard toys while the rest of the kiddos are eating. :D

I often read aloud at lunch to my kiddos when they are all eating, as full mouths are quiet mouths (and their minds are listening)! :wink:

Another wonderful thing that is well worth doing is to clear out a lower cabinet in your kitchen and stock it with just your 2-3 year old's toys. I only allowed my 2-3 year old to have one toy at a time out of the cupboard. We placed child protectors on the cabinet doors to enforce this. Then, I filled the cabinet with all sorts of quiet items that the 2-5 year old could get out (one at a time) and play with quietly at the table or on the floor by the cabinet. Often my boys spent much time just getting one thing out and putting away, so they could get the next thing out of the cabinet. The rule was only one item out at a time, and it must be put away prior to getting out the next item. This easily took 25-30 min. and can be used anytime you need it. Many days my son just spent a lot of time taking out one toy, scattering it on the floor, picking it up, putting it away, and getting out another one (which is great for fine motor muscle building and for practicing the skill of picking up)! We did put child protectors on the cupboard doors, which my son could open, but it slowed him down and kept him from just unloading the cabinet. We tried to put the toys in the cabinet that had many pieces in storage boxes WITH LIDS. This kept my son busy every morning, again in the afternoon, and in the evening. It is still the first thing he heads for when he comes downstairs, as he knows it is his. We also have a playroom with his toys, but for years he often only ever wanted what was in the cabinet. :D

Some examples of inexpensive things to place in the cabinet for a 2 year old that you may already have on hand would be a bucket of cars, a lidded container with macaroni noodles and a measuring cup, play food that he can cut or put together, a can of tennis balls with a lid, a container with a tweezers and small objects to pick up with the tweezers (like small pieces of yarn), a Cheerio book if you have one (where kiddos put the Cheerios on the openings in each page, if no Cheerio book make your own using coloring book pages and drawing circles where your kiddo should place the Cheerios (and then eat them), a container with trains and a track in it, a magnadoodle, anything she can pound like a ball pounder, an empty egg carton with a big button or other object in each slot (make sure they're not a choking hazard though), colored cups with a small container of legos chosen to be the same color as the cups (sort the colored legos into the matching cup), colored counting bears to sort, Kumon coloring books, simple puzzles with knobs or just a few pieces, playdough or moon dough (once the child doesn't put it in his/her mouth), Little people sets, a simple circular train track and train, wooden blocks, Lauri shapes, giant pegs and foam pegboard, magnetized letters or shapes for the fridge, a lidded tub filled with stuffed toys, a container of megablocks, possibly some tractors or other vehicles, etc. :D

Toys for a 3 or 4 year old could have smaller parts and more involved steps like simple puzzles, possibly playdough or moon dough, large gears, objects for sorting, alphabet letters, foam blocks, large tangram shapes, a dry erase marker board and low odor marker (only when supervised , stacking cups, nesting boxes or other things that nest, large lacing beads, snap cubes, maze books or simple count-by-number books, Kumon cutting books, patterning cards,etc.

Another help for a two year old is highchair time. This usually buys about 15 min. We tried to have a highchair time each day for our kiddos when they were that age. We also attempted a playpen time and a play at the table time each day. Here's just a few ideas we used in the past for our highchair time for our busy, busy boys at that age: :wink:

1. Save the plastic eggs that snap together from Easter and place a Cheerio or other edible object inside each one. Then, have the child open and eat them, or if possible have the child put the object in and then take it out.

2. Do paint with water books in the high chair. Tear one page out of the book and tape it to the high chair tray. Give the child a small plastic container of water (flatter is better than taller, so it doesn't tip) and a paintbrush to paint on the water, and watch the colors appear on the paint with water page. Often the paper ended up so saturated, you couldn't see the picture but the time it gave me was worth it!

3. Cheerio books you can get at almost any book store. These have an indented spot to place a Cheerio in on each page creating a scene. We bought them for our first son (who is now a freshman) and have had them for each child ever since. These work great in the high chair as well. Simply give the child a small cup of Cheerios to place on each page, reusing the Cheerios as they go. Then at the end they can eat them (or eat as they go sometimes too.)

4. Tape a white piece of paper to the highchair tray and sprinkle a bit of kool-aid or Crystal light powder on the page. Then give the child a paintbrush and some water and let them paint the powder.

5. Give the child a singing book to look at while in the highchair. Ours have the buttons you can push down the side and sing different songs or make noises.

6. Try having the child look at a pile of lift-the-flap books with very large flaps while in the high chair. Some of my boys liked this better than others!

7. Use dot paint markers. These markers have paint inside them and make paint dots on paper when pressed down. Just tape a paper to the high chair and let them dot away! Make sure the paint is washable though, as they often dot the tray and themselves!

8. Magnetic train cars to push around on the highchair tray work well if you happen to have any of those. Each of our boys have loved these.

9. Sometimes a combination works too. Start with one highchair item and when the child is finished do another one. We tried for 15-20 min. in the highchair at a time mid-morning.

Playpen/Crib/or Room Time is another great help. When the toddler is doing this is typically when I do the left side of LHFHG or Beyond all in one sitting (as it takes about 30 min. to do the left side). One idea from Managers of Their Homes that I really liked and used was the Mommy Tape or CD. I recorded myself reading short Bible stories, nursery rhymes, counting, saying the names of family members, singing short little songs like "Jesus Loves Me" etc. to last 1/2 hour. I said my little one's name over and over all throughout the tape, like I was talking to him. I played it every day while my little one had time in his room with his toys (we do that time in his crib for safety reasons). When the tape ends, the child knows the time is up. We also used this during playpen time when he was younger. Playpen time amounted to a singing tape/CD with toys in the playpen. My boys were required to stay in the playpen for 20-30 min. at that age. When they outgrew the playpen, we moved it to time in the child's crib. Then, later we began assigning an older child to play with the younger one during that time instead. Once the child was not such a danger to himself, we switched this time to being playtime alone in his room. This happens around age 4 at our house. :D

Another thing to consider is having an older child play with the younger child. We required the kiddos to play in one room for that time. I rotated the room by day, once the older child was responsible enough to be out of my sight with the younger one. For time with another child at this age, we had the older child have an assigned card with an order in which to do things with the younger child. The card for each day usually included some of the following: :D
1. Read two board books to the child.
2. Do 1 or more fingerplays with the child. ( I had a list and taught the older child how to do them.)
3. Walk around with the child in the house and point to and name 10 objects, having the younger child repeat back the name of each object.
4. Count from 1 on up to... (whatever is most appropriate) with the child, having the child repeat each number after the older one says it.
5. Sit on the floor and roll a soft air-filled ball back and forth. Then, stand and bounce it back and forth. Last, gently throw the ball back and forth.
6. Stand back and toss beanbags or rolled up socks into a laundry basket.
7. Follow along in a book with an audio book while having the younger child sit next to the older child or on his/her lap.
8. Play with an assigned toy. (I assigned a different toy to each day, so the older child knew what to play and where to play it.)
I also have assigned an older child to sit and do educational computer time with my kiddos aged 3 or 4 and help and guide them, so this is an option as your toddler gets older.

For our younger boys, we also have had table time, which is similar to the cabinet idea but gives another thing for a 2 year old to do each day. This is where we have used 5 different tubs (that slid under my bed for storage when not in use). We numbered the tubs Day 1, Day 2, Day , Day 4, and Day 5. Each day we took out a different tub and the boys had to play with the items in the tub. I just placed things in each tub that we already had on hand. By placing them in the tub to only come out once each week, the items seemed new and exciting. Then, if anyone ever gave us something new, I placed it in a tub. Tub items included puzzles, books, toys, short books on tape/CD, etc. We set the timer and required the boys to play with the items in the tub for 20 min. at this age. :D

Once the younger child is 3 or 4, I have scheduled an older one to do computer with the younger one, sitting by to aid and talk through the preschool type educational computer CD's (like Jump Start or Reader Rabbit toddler or preschool). :D

Last, I've found that if I schedule some time to be one-on-one for 10-15 min. with my little one, early on or mid-way through the morning, then he is more willing to go play on his own. Even reading a book or singing a couple of songs with him will give him that one on one time. :wink:

You can see that as much planning goes into the 2-3 year old's day as goes into any part of HOD! There is also much training there too! But it pays off big dividends in your year all year! :D

Blessings,
Carrie
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