Dear Gigi, our family has suddenly been thrown into homeschooling, along with everybody else who has school-age kids, and we are really struggling. Trying to keep two kids on top of their schoolwork and keep a toddler busy, and work from home is totally overwhelming. Both of my older kids (K, 4th gr) are doing school online, but they are not familiar with the laptop, the website, etc., and they can’t upload their own work. They need a lot of help. My toddler has become a threenager and is constantly testing boundaries. My husband is working a lot of overtime, and I’m about to lose my mind. How can I keep peace and joy in my home when everything is so discombobulated?
Dear Mama, thank you for being honest about your struggle and reaching out for help. I’m praying through your situation and I can say with all certainty that you are not alone. And if only three-year-olds still took two naps a day, and slept until noon, right? Your toddler is used to having your total undivided attention so it’s an adjustment for this little one, too. Everybody needs your attention now and it’s pulling you in multiple directions all at once. How many others can identify?
I think that segmenting your day into blocks is a possibility for surviving these challenging days. You can’t give the toddler attention while doing schoolwork with the other two. You can’t do your job with a toddler running around unsupervised. You will probably have to plan your day around your toddler. Toddlers rule the world. It’s just the way it is.
Here are a few thoughts. I hope they are helpful!
- Each evening, have a meeting with yourself to plan out the coming day. Organize supplies for school and work.
- Before the toddler wakes up in the morning, review assignments and prepare for the school day.
- If there are any school assignments the older two can do unattended, get them going in the morning. Use this hour to do something fun with the toddler – i.e. painting, baking, bubble bath.
- During naptime, assist the older two with the remainder of their schoolwork, and if there is any time left, have them use it reading/resting. I would recommend you use this time to rest as well, but if this is the only time you can carve out to get work done, you may have to use it.
- After nap time, put on a movie for the kids. If they are engaged, you may find some time for work here, too.
- My experience with three kids was if I had one working with me (helping to cook supper, e.g.), the other two got along better. Didn’t matter which one, two just played better than three. This also provides some one-on-one Mommy-kid time.
- If all else fails, Daddy might have to lend a hand to give you a chance to catch up, particularly once he has rested up. All hands on deck! Desperate times, desperate measures. Arms around!
Depend on the Lord in whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
–Proverbs 16:3 (NCV)