This is a request from Julie Tallin, thanks Julie, for tips on how to divide your time and attention between several children.
In my experience, trying to juggle several children at once is easy, if managed correctly.
I used to try to include everyone together, so nobody feels left out.
I can recall my youngest son always wanting to be treated as a ‘big boy’ ( due to the fact that he had 3 older brothers).
One day he picked up a book, that one of his brothers has been reading and pretended he was reading it, fully engrossed. The only problem was, he was holding the book upside down, much to everyone’s amusement!
One another occasion, after a session of speech therapy.The therapist said to me “I would like Adam to practise these words at home.” He became very excited by this and said “Have I got homework, like my brothers?”
So from then on,when my older children were sat around the table doing home work I would encourage Adam to sit there too and give him a note book and crayons and instruct him to draw a dog etc.
For children who are too young to join in, in this way, why not sit them in a high chair, close by, with a healthy snack or small toy to keep them entertained?.
My older boys used to have weekly spelling tests at school, which they would learn at home. One day on the school run in the car, I was testing them on words. Adam looked up and said “What about me?So I replied “Adam. spell dog.” He came back with, “DOG.” It was a fluke that surprised us all!
Whilst child minding I really had to juggle children , as most days I had 3 under 5 and more in the school holidays.
Again I tried to plan activities that everyone could enjoy. Even a baby will sit happily on your lap while you read a story or sing. At around 18 months they can play with dough or draw using chunky crayons if sat in a high chair near by.I used to encourage the older children to help with the little ones. I had one particular 8 year old girl who loved to help. When we were preparing to go out they would get their shoes and sit on my stairs, in a queue, waiting for her to put them on. This worked really well for us.Older children also like to push a buggy or a child in a swing,or will happily cuddle a younger child under supervision, of course.
While any child requiring a nap was asleep I would read the other children a story, or encourage other quiet activities.
One time the children were junk modelling and a young child happily stuck masking tape onto a box and then pulled it off again. He still took this home (after I explained it to his mum).
If you let all the children share your time, in this way, hopefully, it will avoid jealousy, when one child appears to be getting more attention. GOOD LUCK.
As always questions/ comments are welcome. I will answer questions as soon as I can.