Topic | Newb problem

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  • Abby F

    My son and daughter are 5 (almost 6) and 3.  They play together well and…well, that’s kind of the problem.  I started school with my son (laid back and no narrations required yet bc he’s not 6).  But, as prepared as I was, I didn’t fully expect this problem.  When we’re “doing school” my 3 year old wants to do it too, but she is mostly distracted and playing.  Which is fine but then my son has a hard time doing the work/listening.  If I “assign” her a different activity to do while my son and I work, then my son wants to do what she’s doing and isn’t focused or giving his best effort because he wants to go play with whatever I’ve given her to do.  This includes when it’s just playing with the blocks that have been in the living room for 5 years; not anything new or special.  There are very few toys or activities (if any) that they both do not find interesting, so I’m having a hard time finding something JUST for my 3 year old so that my son can grow in his habit of attention and best effort.  Basically, they only want to play with each other and that means either she distracts him from school or if she’s doing something else it creates a fight between wills (his and mine) and she ends up distracting my son anyway.  Any suggestions?


    What a beautiful problem to have.  Such fun ages.  I don’t remember having this blessing at those ages.  But I think I would have probably just had my 3 year old do “school” with us.  My oldest was the wiggliest, so the younger ones were easier to have tag along.  We just did short lessons, lots of reading aloud of course.  My littles would color or play with play-doh while I read aloud.  In all honesty my oldest would do the same.  During reading lessons or some “serious” school there might be something I could call school for them.  Scribbling with a crayon, or tracing giant letters.  Something not terribly desirably for the oldest, but that would make the younger feel like they were doing their lessons also.  Rod and Staff has some really fun workbooks for pre-k, I had several of them on hand for “schoolwork.”  I think it was a lot of coloring, tracing, mazes, etc.  Maybe try keeping it super short for a bit, 5 minutes of focused time for the oldest with the reward of sibling play after.  Build up to longer sprints of focused effort.  I am sure others have ideas.  Good luck.


    I agree that this is a beautiful problem to have. I would echo that it might be best to just have the three year old join you.

    I would keep it super short and doable and honestly the first month or two, school may be more about training the three year old than actually teaching the five year old but if you stay consistent, that time with the five year old will come.

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