Before quarantine and starting to work from home, my 3-year-old schedule was easy. All I had to focus on most days was getting him out of the house to daycare.
Thanks to quarantine, I find myself scrambling to figure out how to create a schedule that doesn’t keep my kid in front of the TV all day.
Fortunately, I was able to pull some inspiration from his schedule at day care.
Example 3 Year Old Daily Schedule
|6-8am||Wake Up/Get Dressed/Breakfast/Brush Teeth|
|8:30 – 9am||Circle Time|
|9 – 9:30am||Learning Activity|
|9:30 -10:30am||Active Play (Playground/ Dancing etc)|
|10:30 -11:30 am||Snack /Screen Time|
|11:30 – 12:30||Lunch Time /Story Time|
|2:30 -3:30||Snack/ Free Play|
|3:30 – 5:00||Craft and/or Active Activity|
|5 – 7pm||Dinner/ Bath /Story Time|
|Celebrate||Congrats You Made It!|
As a mom I have to fit other things into my schedule like appointments and chores, so all of these things don’t happen every day. I like this schedule because it is a good starting point.
Components of a 3-year-old schedule
Meal time and snack time
This one is pretty straightforward, three meals and two snacks. One more in the snack and one afternoon snack is what I normally shoot for.
I read to my son at least once a day. I normally read to him once during the day, and my husband reached to him at night before he goes to bed.
Story time is a good transition from a more active activity to a more quiet activity. Story time is a good transition before nap time or before a learning activity.
At this point, we are working on basic phonics, sorting, letter and number recognition, and fine motor skills. Some of our favorite educational activities are:
- Circle Time
- Race Track Alphabet
- Educational Apps on the Tablet
- Pouring Station
- Sorting and Counting Cars
My son is in love with cars, so I try to do activities and lessons involving cars whenever possible.
This is a staple at many preschools. It is about 15-20 minutes to start the day. It is a way to go over the days of the week, perhaps the weather, and a number, letter, or color of the day.
I purchased a little easel and I would sit on the floor and host circle time. On busy days, I would defer to YouTube for circle time. My favortie is Ms. Monica.
Race Track Alphabet
We bought some Preschool workbooks for my son, but he wasn’t quite ready to sit at a table with a pencil. So I printed out the race track alphabet from the gift of curiosity. I let him drive his car over the letter to learn the letter. Sometimes I would let him use jumbo crayons to trace the letter. If I didn’t mind a little mess, I would let him use a sponge paintbrush to paint the letter.
This is a great exercise for letter recognition, a good pre-writting exercise, as well as a way to work on fine motor skills.
Pinterest is my go to for educational activities. I tried to use things I already have on hand.
Let them have fun. Supervised but unstructured fun to use their imagination and play with their toys. I normally use free play time to get some chores done or meal prep out of the way.
I like to do this because if he’s curious, he can help out. Sometimes he likes to help me load the washing machine. Other times he may want to help mix a bowl of pancake batter. Free play sometimes turns into my son helping me with chores.
It’s quick and easy. My kid is into monster trucks so we let him watch some educational monster truck videos on YouTube. We also really like Blaze and the Monster Machines and PJ Masks. Blaze in the Monster Machines has great problem solving activities.
As I mentioned previously, sometimes we use YouTube for circle time. There are a few channels that do a daily (Monday-Friday) circle time . We watch Ms. Monica. Sometimes he is a little reluctant because he’d rather watch a monster truck show, but he eventually starts to enjoy it.
This is active play. A way to burn off this toddler energy.
Set boundaries and anchor your schedule around meal times
Food and sleep have the biggest impact on my son’s mood. In an attempt to keep him cooperative, I focus on making sure he is well fed and well-rested.
I make sure he has breakfast within an hour of waking up.
Some days my son gets up early but I make it a point not to have any screen time before 9:00 a.m. .
Most of our days are structured around meal times. Happy well rested preschoolers/toddlers are easier to deal with. Normally breakfast is before my first meeting at 8am. Lunch is around noon and dinner around 7pm
Putting it All Together
Example Schedule for a 3 year old