As many of you may be aware, we had new addition to our family - Muhammad
Our beautiful boy is now three months old. I also have three beautiful girls aged 6, 5 and 3 years old. So, you can imagine the transition of welcoming a new baby into our family. There had to be an adjustment period for the whole family. A new baby is a wonderful lesson for your children. They learn to become more self-sufficient and helpful when needed. They learn about the different stages of life. It is a truly wonderful thing for a family.
Homeschooling can be challenging and throwing a baby into the mix and chaos is often a much better word. Nevertheless do not panic I’m here to tell you that you can successfully homeschool with little ones around, all it takes is dedication! In shaa Allah.
I get lots of questions about how I juggle homeschooling with a newborn. Today I want to share with you my 8 tips on how I make it through each day.
1 - Eat Well
After having a baby last thing you need is undernourished mama. Eating well will help you keep energetic at all times and it will nourish your baby if you're breastfeeding. It does not have to be hard or expensive if planned well. I don’t wish to lecture you on food philosophies but I would urge you to make eating well a part of your home strategy.
2 – Little at a time
When we started back to our more regular school routine, I started adding the very basics. Our school day was simplified down to the bare bones for a little while. I didn’t stress about the extra projects and trips or the arts and crafts. I just kept it nice and easy, manageable for a tired mama. My children can do most of their school work independently, they just need guidance and encouragement. So, I just sit in the room with them while nursing my baby and am there for their needs. Honestly, it is easy to sit and read with my children while holding or feeding my baby. You can eventually start increasing your children’s school work as you feel more energetic and baby gets into more regular routine. It took me time before I had the energy or the desire to do any of the extras. I just take it a little at a time and there are still hard days.
3 - Use your sling
I don't know about you but I absolutely looveeee my sling! Whether you have a fussy baby who cries as soon as you put him down or not don't stress out. One affordable item for parents of a newborn is a baby sling or baby-carrier. You can nurse in the sling or let the baby sleep in the sling while keeping your hands free to work on projects with older children. It's amazing how much homeschooling you can do with just one hand.
4 – Be flexible
Homeschooling offers flexibility which can accommodate the demands of a new baby in a variety of ways. Alhamdulilah! This year with our new baby in the house I had no choice but to plan my school day around the baby's schedule. Not the other way around. Although I prefer to start right after breakfast when everyone is eager and has the most energy, we have to wait until Muhammad has his morning nap. As far as I'm aware most babies nap so make the most of those naps. You will most likely find that you can complete all or nearly your entire child's work during nap time. Formal work generally takes us a maximum of two hours. Plan your most important school subjects for when your little one is napping. My little boy is three months old now and sleeping well. Maa shaa Allah. I feel like I am finally to the point where things are getting back to “normal”. My children needed to understand why we did less projects, less field trips and less of all the more hands-on things. Good news is that children are very resilient and can easily adapt to changes. They are also willing to accept that mama bear is busier than before.
5 – Get your children involved
My eldest daughter is six years old now who behaves like a 20-year-old which might not be very surprising for the eldest child. If you have slightly older children in your home, they can play with your littlest. Older children can do their reading time whilst the little ones listen. This will allow you to help another child with their work or give you time to do your cooking and cleaning. It will also create strong bond between siblings to develop deep relationships and it will let your older child learn responsibilities.
6 – Be organised!
This one is for all homeschoolers baby or no baby. Since we live, eat, sleep, and homeschool, there are piles of tasks and stuff to juggle. I’ve found that you have not only to organise your homeschool, but also do it in a way that suits your family’s personality and practice. In the weekends, I try my best to organise our classroom, mark all work, cover all the planning I need to do including spare activities they can work on during the week when I need to just have “Me” time or when I’m busy with baby.
7 – Patience
Oh yeaahhh . . . homeschooling requires a lot of patience specially when you have a baby too. Understand that everyday will NOT go exactly how you planned and everyday will NOT be perfect but everyday you'll be together. In shaa Allah. And that is freaking awesome! So don’t worry if it doesn’t go to plan and don’t worry if some days everything just goes by the wayside. Relax. Have a PJ day. Watch educational documentaries. Read books and enjoy each others companies.
8 - Love your baby
Lastly, rather than seeing the baby as an interruption to your established homeschooling routine, take a deep breath and just go with the flow. Praise Your Creator for this precious gift and be thankful for the richness your baby adds to your homeschool. Remind yourself that you will never get these days back, so love your baby and enjoy the small amount of time he/she is so tiny and wonderful. School will always be there, but watching a little newborn and your older kids interact and bond with him will not.
So Enjoy your baby and . . .