Schedule/routine for kids while at home
Tiere Hessert is a mom of 4 in Darien, CT. She has a MA in Teaching Literacy and Childhood Ed from Bank Street and spent her years In NYC teaching at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, a Gifted and Talented school in Brooklyn and a progressive charter school. She ran a 2’s co-op in the West Village, Manhattan and now runs a mother’s group called MamaCollective. She’s passionate about Education, importance of play and maternal health issues. I’m also blessed to call her a personal friend.
Tiere will take it from here:
If schools close or you’re voluntarily keeping kids home, it’s very important to keep to some kind of schedule. Kids need it for a sense of safety and also it will help you stay sane as well. Never feel guilty if you want to abandon it all here and there and watch Disney + all day. This is a strange time and follow your heart on what makes your family feel good.
I have 4 kids and they are very young. A kindergartener, a 4 year old, a 3 year old and a 3 month old. For families with older kids, this would look different and most likely have more e-learning happening. I have a MA from Bank Street in Childhood and Literacy. This plan I geared towards what developmentally would be appropriate for the ages of my kids and stimulating for them, as well as allowing ample down time to play.
If schools close for two weeks or longer, that really gives a lot of time to “study” something – a theme. I used “Our Neighborhood” as our curriculum. It is a fun unit of study starting with the home, neighbors, local businesses, places, etc. Easy to build on and incorporate literacy, math and science as the days go on.
7:30-9 am: Breakfast, teeth brushed, dressed for the day (you included!).
9-9:30 am: Activity while Mom cleans up kitchen
This would be self directed as I get kitchen in order. I’d lay out loose building materials and ask, “Can you build a home? What does a home have inside? Can we make a backyard – what would be the best backyard ever?” I’d play with them for about 5 minutes to get things going and then let them go for it themselves. If they don’t want to, fine, but introduce something and then let them be :). Come back after cleaning and ask them about what they built.
9:30-9:50 am: Read books together in a cozy spot. Maybe you check out books on your theme, or see what you have around.
9:50-10 am: Free time. Or all clean up together.
10 am – 10:20 am: Wash hands and make a snack together to eat. Have them spread peanut butter on celery or…involve them in the cooking process. The whole thing is going to be “killing time” and also creating less work for YOU – so have kids get ownership of this.
10:20-11 am: Outside time (backyard or nature walk). I like to throw everyone in the car and go to a trail. Tie it into the neighborhood study: “Why do neighborhoods have trails? What streets do we take to get there and how long does it take?”
11-12: Free time and bath if needed
12 pm – 1 pm: Make and eat lunch
Again, have the kids help with an easy meal. HERE are some fun ideas that are easy to make
1 pm: Quiet Time and Nap for those who still do.
Quiet choice activities in rooms. Everyone needs downtime. For one hour, we keep to ourselves. This only works for one of my kids. My 3 year old naps. My 4 year old can play by himself for about 20 minutes but that’s all. So do your best, praise him and maybe this is when he watches a show so you can CHILL OUT!
3 pm : tea time /snack
I need a coffee around this time so I make it a big deal. Lay out a bunch of snacks, a treat and enjoy tea (I make warm lemon water for kids).
3:30 -4 pm: Activity (or help prep dinner)
Back to the theme, with our neighborhood – I’m starting small first: let’s draw our driveway and our cars and our backyard. Slowly over days you start to expand – let’s map the homes next to us, who lives in them, let’s take a walk and see what businesses are there. What do they do? It all builds on the theme, slowly.
⁃ OR, for example if you need to prep a soup have your kids help you with that
4 pm-4:30 pm: Outside time
Either backyard, playground or trail. Getting kids climbing, jumping, fresh air is key for all of us!.
4:30pm -5 pm: Quiet show as dinner is prepared or you chill out too while soup is on Instapot.
5 pm: Dinner
Read/ brush teeth
Sometimes I say they can watch one more show if they clean up the playroom :).
8 pm: Lights Out
I hope this can help you in some way as you navigate this time with your littles. Remember you need to keep your sanity too. Take breaks and hang in there.
Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions: Tiere@mamacollective.org