Preparing a daily schedule for children at home is an excellent idea. As a stay at home parent to small children one of the most challenging things in our home was coming up with a daily schedule that provided for learning, growing, resting and a bit of private time…for mommy.
Start by breaking your child’s day down into sections.
Next work on and figure out what will happen in each section.
It’s okay if the schedule changes on different days. For now just work on one day. The goal is not to over schedule your child but provide a bit of stability in the familiar and opportunities for learning and discovery. Your morning and evening routines or your child are the most important. Giving your child a good start to each day and ending in the security of home.
Here is an example of my daughter’s current daily routine. She has different routines on Wednesday and the weekends. I try not to cram to much into our day because we have a lot of the unexpected around our house. School and a relaxing evening environment are the musts. This printable is from our old planner version. We have a new children’s planner coming out Fall 2012. (open the image in a new window to see it larger).
A Simple Schedule Template for Preschool Age Children:
For small children it’s great to follow the direction of daycares and preschools in providing a scheduled day to meet their needs. When it’s time for naptime you’re ready for the break and can get some of your own things done. Since you’re mostly likely working alone things like crafts and circle time may often be replaced by running errands. Here is a sample of what a daycare schedule might be like. Circle time with your child can be 15 minutes of singing preschool songs and doing hand motions.
Sample Preschool Day
- Hands on Activity
- Some kind of circle activity with music
- Play Outside
- More Circle Time songs etc.
- Story Time
- Snack time
- Play time (while you’re getting ready for dinner)
- After dinner it’s time to play quietly, read and prepare for the bedtime routine.
Finding Things to do:
If you haven’t already discovered this one thing you will learn is that if you do not encourage and help your child learn the art of entertaining themselves (without destroying something) you will have a whining child constantly clinging on to you to provide them with something stimulating to do even though they are surrounded by toys.
While we struggle with wanting our children to be in learning mode all the time remember that they are learning while playing. Quietly playing while mommy is involved with something else is not a bad thing. In fact you want to teach your children how to constructively entertain themselves. In the beginning show them a little how to do something such as play dough, coloring, building blocks, and the like and then move to do something near them. Study your child to see what interests them. Do they like to create? Do they like to read or look at picture books. Do they like to role play with dolls and kitchen sets? Do they like to dig in the dirt outside and find bugs or plant things? They may like to do all of these.
Older toddlers and preschool age children can help you around the house and they often want to do that. Don’t pass up this opportunity to begin giving them chores. Begin showing them small skills they can progress on. Cooking is a great one. Mixing together things like small salads, rice mixes before you cook them, and bread dough are some simple ones. Let them help you with the laundry or a bit of cleaning. As they grow and are accustomed to this you will find they are a big help in the home.
If your child seems more difficult to get to entertain themselves turn it into a game. Have your child pick something. One activity from among their toys and crafts that they can do alone (you are nearby of course). Set a timer for 15 to 30 minutes and have them play with that item letting them know you are right there just not actively playing with them. You can even do this daily so you can get something done.
Another option is to provide preschool time at home for your child.
Here are some great home preschool programs
Circle Time (for managing your homeschool day)
Summertime Tips for Preschool and Kindergarten
For school age children be sure and keep them on track with the reading and basic math skills learned during the school year. Simple worksheets and reading time will help keep your child’s new skills right at the forefront.
Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood is an excellent book for organizing your day with children at home. This resource for working or stay at home moms is based on the author’s own experience parenting 3 children very close in age (2 adopted). Find routines and ideas for morning through night.
Read about our Daily Homeschool Schedule for 2011
Now that you know your child’s daily schedule you need to fill in the blanks with your own personal time. Maybe you wake up early for a quiet time or some work. Maybe you work after your kids are in bed as my mom used to do. Or you have some peaceful personal time during their naptime or quiet time. Make sure you get some moments for mom in there or you will burn out.
Put your new routine and more to paper with our The Management of Time digital planner.