Help! Any advice?
Maybe you could spread your 8 year old's homeschooling time out through the day more, so instead of doing 2 hours at a stretch you're just doing 15-30 minutes at a time. If you have a partner who's home some of the time, maybe you could also do more homeschooling when your partner is there to help entertain the 4 year old. Does the 4 year old go to bed earlier than the 8 year old? If so, maybe you could get in some homeschooling in the evening after the 4 year old is in bed.
Well yeah, of course he's jealous. Suddenly his sister is home and getting hours of one-on-one attention from you. This is the sort of thing you need to be pro-active about dealing with. It's totally natural for him to feel rejected, and you'll have to make a big effort to counteract that. You need to be doing new special things with him. You need to make him feel like his learning and his time with you are just as important and exclusive as his sister's. He has to feel like his needs matter even when his sister is hard at work. You may be focused on all the attention she needs because she's doing all this homeschooling, but if anything he'll need more attention than she will, because he's likely to be much less independent with his learning, self-care, emotional needs and play.
I'd make sure you don't have to leave him without some significant and meaningful interaction for any longer than half an hour ... even 20 minutes can be a stretch for a 4-year-old. I'd find him some special school-like activities that he can join you at the table for: fun tracing or colouring workbooks, a box of letter-matching puzzles, that sort of thing. I'd set aside at least a couple of special times when you focus exclusively on enriching his learning world one-on-one with you, preferably before giving his sister your time: fill his emotional need for attention and connection before you ask him to give you time with her. I'd try to find ways to move your 8-year-old's homeschooling in a more independent direction so that you're able to give her brother more attention while she's working. If there are things that you just have to get done one-on-one (I remember when my eldest was 8: for us it was her violin practicing that she really needed my help with, and that was really tough for her 5- and 3-year-old siblings to stay quiet and well-behaved for), see if you can make use of time on weekends or in the evenings when daddy is home to spend time with the preschooler.
Get creative. Good luck!
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
That's was today, who know tomorrow! :-)
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