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Old 03-19-2015, 09:25 PM
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Exclamation How Do I Spend Quality Time With 2 Preschoolers Separately From 3 Infants?

I have two 4yr old boys, and 3 infants ages 11, 12, & 15 months. I used to have a 10-month old boy too (but recently stayed home with his cousin) and have had all 6 kids for 3 months now. I thought I would somehow just slowly transition to getting our daily routine lined up well so I could spend time with the big boys to learn letters/colors/numbers/art/science/reading/etc. in between infant feeding/diapering/napping times.

I've handled the infants very well with my mom's help, but it seems there just isn't enough time during the day to squeeze in quality time with the big boys. The infants take so much of our time, and the big boys only get some if not lots of attention during meals/snacks, which we tend to do so often. I struggled with following a curriculum with them for over a month, because we would ALWAYS be interrupted with infants waking up from a nap, bathroom breaks that take forever, infants wanting to join us in our activity, and all the distraction is just making our time kind of wasted. I almost always end up telling them to continue "scribbling/coloring/cutting" and "i'll be right back", but won't be back for more than 10 minutes because of immediate necessary infant to-do's. Also, one of the big boys have some sort of late development issues, so it takes twice as long to engage him in whatever activity we are doing with the other smart boy. I had to potty train him at age 4! (my 1st time doing it and it was a nightmare while having to tend to 4 infants needs at the same time) The other boy is bored with playing with him because he is not in his world and seems too immature for his age! So he ends up just looking at me the whole time waiting for something to do, and expects me to sit with him to do things/play with something like "homework" he calls it.

Lately, I just quit trying to "force" them to a rushed "lesson" just because "we have to have a lesson". Every night after they leave, I just feel like they didn't learn anything from me today, but parents always pick them up happy & excited & haven't complained about not seeing any artwork lined up on the wall or take-home connections (although one parent assumed we had a monthly folder with all their artwork which we didn't have because the boys like to practice cutting with whatever it is we colored or practiced writing). It seems like they could play on their own and have more fun & learn instead of me, the one they call the teacher, trying to give them a rushed activity time because the babies need something all the time. So i am feeling very bad that it seems they are not learning from me to prepare them for actual school, because i can't just make it work as of right now.

Help please? They are all currently happy with me, and all parents are wonderful, but in the back of my head, the parents will probably start noticing the kids are not getting better at letter/numbers/shapes because I tend to let them do free-play 90% of the time. Was I way over my head when I decided to accept 6 enrollments? Am I really this bad at mixed groups, or are others having this kind of difficulty? I am currently trying to finish required clock hours and also working on CDA coursework at the same to have a better grip on things, but its hard to juggle time & activities. Not to mention all the food prep for the big boy picky eaters and their parents' hour-long drop off/pick up chit-chats like we're the only friends they've ever had. We end up delayed with our infant naps because the parents just won't leave and enjoys playing/chit-chatting in our house as if they already live in our house (family friends). Can anyone give a suggestion as to how to facilitate fun activities for the big boys and tending to the infants' needs at the same time please? I am feeling so guilty, but I cannot terminate anyone because I won't be able to pay all the bills & loans on time.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:38 PM
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Controlled Chaos Controlled Chaos is offline
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I understand where you are coming. I am a list/goal oriented person. But with kids and learning, you have to let that go a bit sometimes.

Kids learn through play and they can even learn all those important facts: colors, numbers, letters, shapes, etc that way

For concrete things - upper case to lower case letter puzzle. Shape puzzle. Sorting lucky charm shapes (fun this month ), sorting fruit loops colors. Sort toy animals by size, colors or type (barn/water/bird/dino).

Give them a sensory tub of rice or pasta with magnifying glasses.

Let them play with flashlights to learn about shadows.

They are learning, they just can't help but learn I like monthly themes so minimal instruction time covers a huge amount of info needed for lots of activities. This month is rainbows, letters P, R and M.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:41 PM
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And the child who want you to play with him all the time. Playing with him isn't your job. He can go play. BUT if he likes to help, let him hold the clean diaper while you change a baby, let him hold a bib while you get ready to feed a baby. Put him to work
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Old 03-20-2015, 05:09 AM
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Do your infants nap at the same time? If not, I would start by putting them all down for nap at the same time. If they all are napping, that will give you time for preschool. My other thought is to put up some kind of divider in your area so that you can see the infants but they cannot get to the activity you are doing. Your infants are old enough to entertain themselves for short bursts of time, they might not think so, but they also need to learn to play by themselves.
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Old 03-20-2015, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racemom View Post
Do your infants nap at the same time? If not, I would start by putting them all down for nap at the same time. If they all are napping, that will give you time for preschool. My other thought is to put up some kind of divider in your area so that you can see the infants but they cannot get to the activity you are doing. Your infants are old enough to entertain themselves for short bursts of time, they might not think so, but they also need to learn to play by themselves.
this is what I have always done, little ones all went down for morning nap at the same time and that was my time for the preschoolers. Now I only take 1 infant at a time so its a little easier on me.

I do think you'll see things getting easier in a few months as the 11 & 12 month olds go from "babies" to "toddlers".
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Old 03-25-2015, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Controlled Chaos View Post


I understand where you are coming. I am a list/goal oriented person. But with kids and learning, you have to let that go a bit sometimes.

Kids learn through play and they can even learn all those important facts: colors, numbers, letters, shapes, etc that way

For concrete things - upper case to lower case letter puzzle. Shape puzzle. Sorting lucky charm shapes (fun this month ), sorting fruit loops colors. Sort toy animals by size, colors or type (barn/water/bird/dino).

Give them a sensory tub of rice or pasta with magnifying glasses.

Let them play with flashlights to learn about shadows.

They are learning, they just can't help but learn I like monthly themes so minimal instruction time covers a huge amount of info needed for lots of activities. This month is rainbows, letters P, R and M.
Thanks so much for the ideas, i will create a new activities schedule with your suggestions as a starting point. the thing is, my big boys definitely have tons of activities they can do because i stocked up alot of learning education resources organized by color and sizes for their own indoor playroom (separate from infants).. outdoors, we have 2 sandboxes with several construction rig and digging toys, swing/slide sets, and a pirate ship climber... i have more than enough toys for them to be creative and busy, but all they want to do is cut paper.

my other problem with the big boys is separation anxiety from their moms. they've been with us for 3 months now, and one still cries every drop-off and delays his mom's departure up to an hour while the mom just can't leave and gives him everything he wants, and they're our family friends, so it's challenging for me to push her out the door and stop her from being manipulated by her 4-yr old son. but as soon as she leaves, the boy stops crying and i obviously know he's totally fine. he's a well-mannered, smart, talkative & an independent boy, but he just cannot be separated from his mom (odd but true). any advice on this problem please? at one point, he took more than an hour tricking his mom to stay longer asking her to do things with him in our home before going to work, i almost decided to text the mom after she left that i will terminate his enrollment if she doesn't cut down drop-off time to 5 minutes with a simple hug, kiss & goodbye the next time around, ut i could not bring myself to do it. it ruins my schedule with the infants, and our day gets very long because of his hour-long drop-offs.

for the past week, he's been going straight to bed right after his mom leaves because he's "too sad". before that, he would pretend he's "pooping" in the bathroom and every time i check, he'd say he's still waiting for "it" to come out, and later find him almost sleeping while sitting on the toilet for over 30 minutes. I know he's very controlling with his parents and they let him to do it to him, and we've talked to them about it several times, but they're our family friends and i can't dare to terminate his enrollment only because of his drop-off drama. I'm thinking I have families on the waitlist if i want to decide to give his spot to another child, but i feel like it would ruin my "reputation" if i do that and will ultimately bring my business down. I've only operated for almost 6 months now, and i guess i'm too careful because i'm still kinda starting out, but i have to say i'm enjoying every bit of this work-and-play-at-home life, so does my whole family
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:58 AM
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I can see how the separation anxiety at drop off can effect the rest of your days routine. I would talk with the mom about making that shorter. You can try having them say goodbyes outside and then when the mom is ready for the goodbye to be done, have her knock and you'll come get the boy. That way your day and the infants are not as interrupted. When the boy comes in, and he's sad say I know you miss your mom, she's fun and she'll be back, how about we draw a picture for her and then proceed to talk about all the other fun things planned for the day.
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