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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:24 pm
Posts: 406
How do you keep younger siblings occupied whilst working with your child? I'm finding it very difficult to create a quiet working environment for DD.

I prefer not to use Screens too often to occupy them (although it does help at times!), and am running out of ideas to keep them busy whilst we study. Usually I get them to build me a fantastic lego creation, draw a picture story, or do some puzzles etc, but it is difficult to keep them busy for 30 mins or so without constant interruptions.

Sometimes they sit with us and do their work, but obviously my attention is then divided and not focussed on DD.

OH works long hours, so isn't around very often to help out.

How do you manage?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:09 am
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This is an almost impossible task, pending on the age of the sibling. I plonked mine in front of the TV with food and drink and this worked wonders!! When I finished with my DD then I concentrated on my DS. I used Educationcity (a very good education computer based learning tool) but when he finished each Math or English task, he would call out for help or for me to see that he has scored 100% hence time to move on to another topic. When it became crucial, I did them both as my DS has KS1 coming up shortly and did not want him to miss out but again it was very challenging.

Maximise your opprtunities ie when sibling is sleeping or out etc Find something that works and keep going until a better solution comes up. Little is better than nothing! My DD has done 3 exams and still passed.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:22 pm 
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I must admit, I used the some sort of electronic babysitter alot! Also, my younger DS went and played with friends. I found establishing some sort of routine helped also. ie. elder DS always did his work at a certain time, and the younger DS learnt to keep himself occupied during this time (not always successfully or quietly).


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:22 pm 
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I must admit, I used the some sort of electronic babysitter alot! Also, my younger DS went and played with friends. I found establishing some sort of routine helped also. ie. elder DS always did his work at a certain time, and the younger DS learnt to keep himself occupied during this time (not always successfully or quietly).


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 8:19 pm
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Same as PC really but also at the weekend one of us used to keep DS2 entertained, preferably out of the house at football training or the park or something.

We still do this really, DS2 goes to football training on Saturday mornings and DS1 does his homework at that time.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:32 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:29 pm
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Location: Chelmsford
With 4 younger siblings to look after and a strong aversion to screens, we manage in a slightly differently way : I get my son to work as independently as possible, on his own in a room and within a set time (timer) otherwise he tends to dream along.
Corrections and associated teaching, when he really needs my support, are then done together but can usually be short enough for me to be able to sit down and concentrate on him. If it is more lenghty, we take that time together after 8 pm, when all the other children are in bed.
I still feel that this 11+ preparation has a definite impact on the whole family :wink: !
Good luck !


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:22 am
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Yes, it's all flooding back...while you are trying to concentrate there will be someone putting the tv on at full blast, someone else sitting on the dog and an annoying face in the garden peering through the window to get a better look....In the end I just had to get rather fierce and say that it was important for ds to concentrate...it was mean to disturb him....their special time would come ( I think they wanted special 1 to 1 too ) or they could join us for maths if they wanted !( they didn't ) I would give ds the book/ paper in my bedroom out of view and then also sit in there with him to go over it.You have to prioritise and you can only concentrate on one child at a time.You need to spend this time with your dd...so let the others watch 20 minutes of tv...I felt neglectful but I also knew that if ds hadn't passed the 11 plus because i had shared my time with the others I would have felt i had let him down at the one time he needed me and all my attention.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 1:52 pm
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I only have the two children and the younger was already about 5 and a half when I started 'tutoring' the elder so it wasn't too difficult. I just sat them both down at the table together and little one filled in 'activity books' as his 'work' while DD did her VR or whatever. By the time DD was doing almost daily practice in the autumn 2010 DS had spellings, tables, reading etc from school which he could get on with as well. DS, of course, had a shorter attention span so there would be a variety of activities on the table for him - including colouring in and puzzles and he knew that if possible he had to get on without much help because it was DD's 'turn' to get help with her work while she was getting ready for an important exam. He is already looking forward to having his 'turn' in a few years time. :shock: I'm not. :(

I think it worked well because DS didn't feel excluded and DD didn't feel she was missing out on something 'fun' like tv or video game time because she was working. Every family is different, of course. DS has always wanted to copy everything his sister did (sometimes this is good - sometimes a bit of a nightmare).

I don't think a few weeks of extra tv in the run up to the exam would do any harm if that is what it takes to keep littles out of your hair for half an hour. :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 11:23 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 11:42 pm
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Hi Muggle,
I've decided to take a different approach with my DD, she's an (normally) easily distracted type of child, particularly to others needs. I started off with her in a quiet, uninterrupted environment and then took the conscious decision to scrap that idea and encourage noises, sounds & little brother to be around whilst she is working. My logic (albeit mad) for this is that I've heard allsorts of stories of children being distracted during their exams by maybe crying children, ill children & many other possible scenarios and I thought it would be better for her to get used to ignoring whats going on around her whilst working. So, I've had younger DS doing his own work, drawings, watching TV you name it, in the room whilst she's working and so far it's had no adverse affect on her learning whatsoever, getting full marks almost all the time. Obviously all children are different but she's managed much better than I could have hoped & I've explained to her that in her real exam there may be things to ignore and she's accepted that quite happily.
I will be doing quiet work with her also, particularly when she's doing practise tests but I'm not going to worry too much about distractions until her work is affected. Then it'll be snacks & TV at the ready :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
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I haven't experienced it yet as both children are too young, but I do find that the biggest interruption while trying to do reading, spelling etc with them is DH.

I will try all your tips, and can now at least think that DH is providing good practice for blocking out noise in a less than perfect examination room in the distant future.


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