With school being out because of COVID-19, there’s been TONS of schedules for parents. Thirty minute intervals of something filling every portion of the day.
For some families, that works great. But for others (like ours) that’s unrealistic. With 3 kids aged 7, 5, and almost 2, breaking our day in 30 minute intervals just doesn’t work.
I prefer to manage our day with routines, letting them take the lead of the day.
Most kids thrive on routines, and they allow flexibility as interests levels change day to day. There are set times of things that need to happen every day (like meals and naps) but what happens in between is completely up to the kids, and can change from day to day. They know what to expect, and look forward to it.
So what can a daily routine look like? In our home it typically looks like this:
Breakfast is before 9, and electronics turn off.
In the morning we get outside, play, do art activities, or baking. Sometimes they do these things on their own, sometimes we do it together depending on the day. If they show interest in formal schoolwork, we’ll do some during this time. Our kids know that there are no electronics during this time unless it’s for educational purposes.
In the morning, I try to alternate activities so they interest everyone. One day an activity may be geared more towards Mr. L’s interests, while other days it may be more towards Em’s. On days they are off busy playing on their own, allow me to focus on activities specifically for Mr. A.
Lunch is around 12, we clean up, then its followed by more play time.
Around 1:30 Mr. A goes down for a nap, while my other two have quiet time. They get their blankets, relax on the couch, and then watch a movie while I get some time quiet time on my own.
Once the movie finishes, my older two play independently in the basement until about 4. Some days they may ask to play a video game, which they know is dependent on how they’ve got along throughout the day.
When Mr. A wakes up, he usually has some quiet time on the couch while I cook supper. Sometimes I have a helper in the kitchen, but usually they’re off on their own.
We usually eat supper around 5. Then everyone helps clean up, and do the dishes.
Some nights we play games as a family or bake, some nights we get outside, other nights our kids have independent play until bedtime routine starts.
Usually bedtime routine starts around 7, and by 7:30 the boys are usually in bed, and Em is in bed shortly after by 8.
Every minute of our day isn’t scheduled, it 100% follows around their interests with the exception of meals. Even those are flexible and if we eat earlier some days then we do others, that’s just how it goes!
So don’t sweat if you don’t schedule activities for your kids every second of the day. They are pretty good at filling their time, with a little bit of guidance!