Troubleshooting: Can I Get Anything Done With a Lot of Little People?

Emily asked:

Just here to say that I'm very interested in all the questions asked so far! I'm just starting homeschooling with my oldest (3yo girl), with a 17-month old (active climber boy) running around and our third due in July. I feel like I have no idea how I'm going to get anything productive done after the baby arrives. I'm completely freaked out about how the fall with go this year!


Emily, are you willing to listen to a little gentle advice from a seasoned mom? Here it is: RELAX. There is absolutely no reason to do anything formal with your 3-year-old in the fall. No, really! Instead, can you think of the following activities as "school"?


coloring books

reading aloud with mommy while baby's being nursed

Signing Time

sand & water play

play dough

cutting and pasting

Kumon workbooks

naming fruit and vegetables in the grocery store

sounding out letters as you say words together

Leapfrog Letter Factory

help Mommy mash bananas for banana bread, slice bananas with a table knife, pour cereal into a bowl for breakfast, stir, set the table (forget perfection and take delight in sweet attempts), vacuum with the long nozzle of a canister vacuum, water plants, feed pets



As for getting anything done? Well, that's a slightly different story. Right off the bat you are going to need to change your expectations about what you can accomplish this summer. When I am dead on the couch with debilitating morning sickness, I have two goals: 1. feed my family 2. survive. I'm not kidding.

Now is the time to jot down what your top five non-negotiable items are for the summer. My list might look something like this:

1. Be in the Word and guard my time with God

2. Feed my family

3. Keep the laundry going

4. Keep the bathrooms and kitchen clean

5. Care for the children (which includes playing, reading, and getting out of the house as much as needed for mom's sanity)

Five is it. Total. And obviously you can expand a single item to include some little sub-categories, but once the shortness of breath and elevated blood pressure kick in, it's time to stop ;)

And all those other things that seem so monumental? They can wait until the weekend or when dad's home to lend a hand. If dad can't or won't lend a hand, then can you ask a friend for help? Your mom? A sister? Your hobbies and interests might need to take a little rest for a season, but don't lose them altogether. Just think in terms of seasons and delight that you can get back to those things when you have children who are a little older and more capable.