Those of you with two children, how much one on one attention does your child get? Things were going along swimmingly when the second one was just a baby. She'd go to bed and it'd leave me an hour to do our "lesson" with the oldest, read her some books, give her some individual attention.
But the last month it's all been a mess. The youngest has gotten older and now doesn't wants to go to bed at the same time that the oldest does. The oldest has also gotten older, but instead of pushing back bedtime she decided to get rid of naps entirely. So now I get the youngest down and immediately go to read the books to the oldest, usually just one instead of two or three because she and her dad have given up waiting and have started without me.
I know it was silly to assume that there will always be an hour difference between their bedtimes, but I like being able to give each girl individual attention. This is doubly true with language development because one is barely talking and can't sit still for a book and the other needs to start reading/writing and can sit for a book with almost no pictures.
Ideas? Suggestions? Heck, I'll just take sympathy at this point. The oldest got very clingy lately precisely because she gets no individual time. The youngest doubled her effort in clinginess to counter-act. So quite literally I'm being pulled in two directions at the same time.
In our case, the two boys bathe together, and then I (or my husband) first read to one, then to the other, and they go to sleep at the same time. Not sure if that would work for you. Individual time for us has been really hard, especially because our boys are only two years apart, and they don't want to be separated.
Also, I remember seeing one Mom comment that she bathes the two kids separately and reads to each of them while they are in the tub (don't know what the other kid is doing at the same time). Maybe that could work for you?
Combined baths definitely won't work. It's hard enough to keep them from fighting over toys when there is no water to drown in. Plus the oldest thinks she's a mermaid, so all of the bathtub is utilized for swimming. But the bath and reading time isn't really our problem. I still get to read a book or two to the oldest. It's the time for any other individualize attention. I have 2 workbooks I want to work with her on. I want to work on her reading. All of that simply doesn't fit into the 10-20 minutes I have between their bedtimes. If we do it while the youngest is awake then she comes over and tries to steal the workbook or pull me away, crying if she fails. I wish they didn't want to be separated, but right now each one actively tries to get my undivided attention without the other as soon as I get home from work.
I'll gladly offer sympathy! I don't have much in the way of a solution though. It's very rare for any of my kids to get long periods of individual attention from me. An hour at a time almost never happens for any of them!
I think it would help to aim for shorter intervals - even 15 minutes on a short project with Natalie while Mila is watching a video, eating a snack, destroying a box of kleenex? (This might be worth the mess!)
My oldest has had to manage with this, which I try not to feel guilty over. To me, having sisters is well worth the sacrifice of as much one-on-one time with me!
What if you get the youngest a notebook too? Maybe even the exact same notebook as the older one. Your younger child won't be able to do the work properly, but would probably feel pretty special if you are doing your Russian work all together. When I get notebooks for my younger children to do while the older ones are doing their school work (we homeschool), the younger ones quickly lose interest, and then I have a fun toy or activity for them to do as soon as they lose interest so the older ones can concentrate on their work.
Also, I hear a lot of homeschool moms will pay particular attention to the younger one first, doing some kind of cognitive type activity (puzzle, reading, counting beads etc) and then the younger child is happier to go off and play for a short while so the mother can have quiet time to do school work with the older children.
Also, you may want to think of establishing quiet time for the youngest since she has decided not to nap. I have had to do this with some of my foster children who needed a nap but felt they were too old. So they would go to their rooms in the afternoon for quiet time, with a few books. And more often than not would have a little sleep. I tell them that it is quiet time for everyone and I will come and get them when quiet time is over. That way they are able to relax in their bed, look at their books (in a darkened room) and not keep getting up to see if rest time is over.
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