Scheduling for Kids at Home

Creating a daily routine and having a list of activities to keep kids occupied helps provide the structure needed to be at home all day. Here are a few tips on creating a daily routine for your family and some fun activities that will exercise both mind and body.

Create a routine that is realistic and flexible

Your family’s daily routine does not have to be extremely detailed. Trying to create a schedule that fills each hour of the day with a very specific activity is likely to just leave you frustrated. Instead, aim for an outline that assigns a time frame for key parts of the daily routine. Before you create your outline, observe your family’s rhythm for a few days. This will help you assign a time frame to certain activities. For example, does your preschooler still consistently need a nap? If so, nap time may be the perfect opportunity to do a more complex activity with your older kids.

One of the goals of the daily routine is to ensure everyone gets enough sleep. Give your kids a few days to ease into the routine and slowly adjust their sleep schedule if they have been staying up too late or refusing a needed nap.

There are some key items to include in your routine outline:

  • Wake up time: If your child tends to wake-up too early, set an alarm clock and instruct her to play quietly in her room if she wakes up before it goes off. Choose a wake-up time for the kids that works for you and allows you some time to yourself before they are out of their rooms, ready to go.
  • Mealtimes
  • Education time: Complete assignments from school. Once school session is over, you can have them use a learning website, app or pre-purchased workbooks.
  • Nap/quiet time
  • Screen time: Try to limit the time kids spend on electronics for general play.
  • Chore time
  • Structured playtime: Engage your kids in a fun craft, game, or learning activity. You can plan these ahead, but on some days, let the kids pick from choices you’ve put in a “busy bucket.”
  • Free playtime: Kids decide what toys to play with. Have plenty of non-electronic toys that encourage open-ended, creative play.
  • Bedtime: Establish a bedtime routine that helps your child settle in for the night and set a ‘lights out’ time. This is a great opportunity to work in reading time.

Create a bucket list of both physical fitness and learning activities

Have a variety of activities available to fill the free play and structured play blocks of time. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Build a backyard obstacle course with dollar store items like hula hoops, pool noodles and cardboard boxes from the garage. Incorporate a sprinkler for a summer cool-down.
  • Science lab in the kitchen. Kids will be having so much fun making a mess they won’t want to stop. Try edible projects also, like baking bread.
  • Need a new book for quiet time? Check out e-books from the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries.
  • Make homemade treats for pets.
  • Take a virtual tour of a museum or historic site.
  • Create homemade instruments and use your smartphone to make a concert video.
  • Have fun practicing their reading skills on a literacy scavenger hunt.
  • Teach kids some exercises and let them take turns leading a daily exercise class.