Three Tips To A Laid Back Tot School



Generally, parents are mastering “teaching” their children from day one as they point to colors and make every animal noise sound under the heavens. We want to show our children the world and help them experience everything they can. It seems to be quite normal to pass a parent in Target who is carrying around a six month old chatting away to them about the items they plan on buying or even asking the baby what they may want to take home themselves.

NPAlthough I share these same desires to teach my son, it doesn’t quite come naturally to me. In addition, as a part-time educator, I tend to get a bit creatively burned out when I am home. I need inspiration for keeping my toddler busy, learning, and having fun. More importantly, I am finding that having a few planned activities during the day gives my son and I more meaningful quality time.

Cleaning isn’t being done. Errands aren’t being run. Electronics are all turned off. It is just him and me. 

Reality Check: we don’t all have time to extensively plan for activities and crafts.

And, none of us have all the time.



    Since my son is only 18 months old, all I care about is exposure. There are no expectations for his performance. I don’t expect to be able to assess him and see where he is at. That just isn’t the point. This also makes it really easy to plan for just a couple of activities during the week and if you can’t get to them – no big deal. Once you find your focus, you can keep that as your personal standard and not allow other expectations to get in the way.


    There were a couple of activities that we attempted to do that simply did not work. In a quick minute, my son moved on from these particular activities to pulling out things from our dishwasher and throwing them everywhere. Clearly, he just wasn’t interested or, he just didn’t get it. In these cases, failure is just an opportunity to see more clearly. Sometimes, I underestimate my son’s abilities, and then other times I shoot too high. Just consider these growth opportunities.


    It’s easy to get involved in something like this and feel totally overwhelmed by all there is you can do. Thankfully, we live in a world where Pinterest has been invented and bloggers all over have done the hard work for you. I’ve really enjoyed getting inspired by Let’s Tot School and have gathered good information from the 1+1+1=1 website. Utilize whats been created and then modify it for your needs. Although I only plan a few activities a week, I scheduled each week to fit a particular topic or theme.

It has now been a couple of weeks since I started tot school with my son and we have had so much fun together. We gather books from the library based on what we are learning at the beginning of the week, we try our best at crafts, and I get to teach him about all sort of things. I’ve made countless sensory bins and he’s made a lot of messes. I’ve sung silly songs and he’s stared at me like a crazy person. We’ve spent less time circling around each other and more time on the floor side by side.

Needless to say, we’ve both ended those days with smiles on our faces and that is all that has mattered. So far, tot school has been worth it and it couldn’t have come at a better time. What else would we do on all those impossible snow days?

How do you teach your toddler at home? Do you plan activities and crafts throughout your week? Have you ever heard of tot school? Would you consider trying it for yourself?


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Wife to a bonafide mountain man and mama to two toddlers and a newborn babe, Tabitha doesn't find much margin for boredom. When things get crazy, as they often do — Tabitha fervently writes down what keeps her pressing on. She believes that every messy minute of motherhood is worth the daily fight and will stop at nothing to pursue God through it all. While often quite wordy and long-winded, you can count on Tabitha to be completely transparent and brutally honest when it comes to life and everything else in-between. While she’d rather meet you over a cup of coffee on her front porch to share the lessons she's regularly learning, you can also visit with her over on her blog or Instagram. Her personal blog, Tabitha Panariso, is a space where you can find her writing on faith, motherhood, and daily life. You can also find her capturing the everyday rhythms of life on her Instagram, @tabithapanariso


  1. I know I’ve tried a few things with my son, and some of them have literally kept his interested for a whole five seconds. Hah! But then there are books that I bring home that he doesn’t blink at at first, and later, I’ll find him “reading them” to himself!
    I think having options around helps! Sometimes he just doesn’t want to color; but when he does, I want to have the stuff on hand to encourage him!

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