I have come to realize that having a daily schedule that runs by the clock is not only stressful but is nearly impossible to keep with a preschooler. Instead, we have found that a daily routine is of much greater assistance to our family. We don't focus on times that activities occur but rather order and expectation for what is on the agenda so that our preschool daughter is confident, aware, and comfortable with what the day holds. 

 Here is an example of our daily routine:

  1. It actually begins the night before with my preparation for the day ahead. I have found it extremely helpful to lay out something for her to work on independently while I start the day (make breakfast, feed pets, etc). I keep this simple, usually a puzzle or play dough or something of that sort.

  2. After waking, I help her complete what we call the Morning High Five (or five important tasks that kick-start our day). They are as follows: 

    • Use the potty.

    • Make her bed.

    • Eat breakfast.

    • Have Bible time.

    • Get dressed and brush teeth.

Bible and breakfast pair together for us. We love beginning our day this way and have found that eating while learning about the Lord helps us to focus better. We usually do a bible story each week that we read most days. We practice a weekly verse each day and also rotate through learning a hymn, praying for others, and reading devotionals during this time. 

My 4 year-old daughter enjoys seeing what activities the day holds written down for her to check off as we complete them. This was her idea but actually helps me a lot to stay on track with what we intend to complete that day. 

The rest of the day is free flowing with play dates or learning activities or errands. We do always try to have snack time pair with reading picture books aloud- again, eating while reading helps us focus well and is very bonding for us. We have chore time twice each day, one time is for Mama's chores while she plays independently and the other is for her to practice completing a chore with me such as folding laundry or emptying the dishwasher. We have daily outside time each day if at all possible. This often includes a walk around our neighborhood for fresh air and exercise. 

We have found an after dinner clean up pairs really well with music and dancing! We love to blast fun dance songs while we clear the table and wash dishes from the meal. This has been a really fun bonding time for our family while also completing a necessary task in an enjoyable way. 

Setting out our clothes and any accessories needed the night before the days we have planned outside-of-the-home activities really helps make the next morning run much smoother. After this, we read a story together as a family before bed. 

I believe consistency is key with preschoolers. God is good to help guide us in what is best for each of our children if we ask Him and notice their unique tendencies and personalities. 

We still have much to learn but we have found these routines to be super beneficial to our family's happiness.

** Favorite item of the year: Target utility cart (three tiered rolling cart)

We use this cart to store art supplies of all sorts such as markers, crayons, paint, glue, scissors, paper, pom poms and more. We keep this in our laundry room, but our daughter can easily pull it out to whatever spot she wants to work. This cart and the independence it provides for her, has encouraged hours of creative play and designing! It has been a joy to watch her dive into art and build these skills, not to mention that I can accomplish much while she is fully entertained! It takes training about how to properly use each material, but once you feel confident that they can, I certainly recommend allowing free use of the materials by way of this type of rolling cart. 

Also, realizing that many moms also work outside the home, this type of routine may need to be adjusted to whatever works best for your family’s rhythm.

--Stephanie Cooley