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So while my 8 and 6 year old are doing their school work I have my 3 year old work on his preschool stuff, but I have no clue what to do with my 1 year old. I sometimes put him in his play pen with his toys but that doesnt last too long, he will sit in his stroller for about 15 min then he screams to get out. If i let him walk around he makes a huge mess if i am not right there with him, sometimes he will sit in his high chair with toys to play with but then he expects to be fed even if it isnt time to eat and gets mad. So what else can i do with him? I do not let him watch TV so that is out.
You can always strip him down to his diaper, put him in his high chair and give him pudding to paint with
Then he can eat, and enjoy playtime at the same time. Really you can use just about anything as a medium for "crafty" type things. Applesauce works real well too(some use food coloring but I don't recommend that unless you want a baby with colored fingers, face, torso, etc.. lol).
You could get some special toys that are only played with during school time-even if it means being in the playpen during that time.
If you wear him at all, he might enjoy that too.
Baby safe markers(ie. color wonder, lol) are a great way to hold attention for a few minutes too.
I don't think you'd be able to find one thing that will hold his attention the entire time, if your schooling lasts more than an hour or two. But you can always try a combination of things, or try and school around his nap-if he still naps, for part of the day so you can get the much needed 1 on 1 done easier.
If you can confine him to just one room, letting him go hog wild with the toys and make whatever mess he wants might seem like a crazy idea, but it's probably what I will do, eventually, lol. I know cleaning up isn't always the most fun thing in the world to do, but if it keeps him entertained, I say go for it and worry about the mess later, lol.
Google "tot boxes". It's a workbox system designed for toddlers. I never used it myself, but I have a ton of friends who are doing it, and they all rave about it! Many start right from the time their child is crawling/cruising and can get to the boxes alone.
I ditto the confine to one room (or large penned area) where he can just play with his toys. I did this with the girls and I only had them I would put them in the playroom, which was completely baby proofed and gated, so I could get housework done or dinner made. They would fuss some about being left there, but after a few minutes they were entertaining themselves with creative ways to use their toys. We didn't introduce any tv until they were over 2yrs old, and now it is only 1-2 hours per week that they see it, so I understand your not wanting to use that! I will say now, they are willing to play on their own and we get compliments on how imaginative they are - I credit time to be a little bored and figure out what to do for them developing these skills.
You could always box him up and ship him off to different countries and then have your others learn about the country he has been shipped to LOL JK!! I agree with trying a work box type thing with him. Only allow him into the special stuff when you are doing school. I have seen some local groups doing preschool bags and you swap with everyone like once a week or so.
Could you put most of the toys and whatever else he tends to get into into another room and just let him have a few in the room where you do school? Obviously he's not going to want to be separated from you, so if you could make the room that you're in a little more toddler friendly, he could just stay near you and not make a mess, lol! Save a few toys for just at school time, and let him play with those while you teach.
(Not criticism, just trying to think of something)
Sara's beautiful children: Cassidy (5y) and Joel (3y 4m) and Timothy (almost 8 months)
Yes, I know I need a new picture .