Summertime, and the livin’s easy…. unless you’re a mom. Then it’s more like summertime and the livin’s the same except now all your kids are home and you have to put sunscreen on squirming children. Having a solid summer schedule for your toddlers and other younger kids is crucial.
This doesn’t mean that you have to stick to the schedule 100% of the time. You can certainly allow for days of letting the schedule go. However, when you have a toddler (or two) and a preschooler, it is important to have some sort of structure. I’ve outlined our summer schedule for toddlers and preschool aged-children below!
Originally published June 21, 2018
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Why I Keep a Summer Schedule
I find a summer schedule for the toddler/preschooler age combination to be really important for two reasons. One is that even though my kids are so close in age (Josie and Margo are 2 and Theo is 4), they have different needs.
Theo really needs one on one time with me frequently to work on different skills that we can’t do with his sisters around. We do chores together and I am teaching him simple cooking concept; I also help him with bigger puzzles (link to our favorite puzzles! ) and we work on reading, writing, and math skills. We do these all through games and he really needs that mental stimulation.
While the girls also need one on one time, it can be cuddling and reading a book or stacking blocks while the other kids are playing.
The other reason is that all 3 of my kids need me so much for everything. I need to be very organized with my time so that I can get the essential things done and so that they all nap or rest at the same time.
Summer Schedule Outline for Toddlers & Preschoolers
I also plan 1-2 days a week where we throw everything in the wind and go on a big outing. This is almost always a beach day (my tips for a successful beach outing with children).
- 7:00-7:30: Theo wakes up
- 7:50: Theo’s clock turns green and he comes downstairs
- 8:30: Josie and Margo wake up and everyone has breakfast
- 9:30-10:30/11:00: Independent playtime
- 10:30/11:00: Outside play/errands/outing
- 12:00: Lunch
- 1:00-4:00: Josie and Margo nap/Theo naps or rests and also has one on one time with me.
- 4:00-4:30: Dinner prep/kids do structured activity
- 4:30-6:00 Outside play or T.V. time
- 6:00: Dinner
- 6:45: After dinner play
- 7:30: Clean up toys and head upstairs
- 8:00: Bedtime
7:00-7:30: Theo wakes up. He usually uses the bathroom and goes back to his room until his clock turns green and he is allowed to come downstairs. He is allowed to read quietly in his bed, which he sometimes does, but often he will just cuddle with his stuffed animals.
7:50: Theo’s clock turns green and he comes downstairs. (I seriously love this clock so much. We’ve used it since we transitioned him from crib to bed, and he knows that the rule is he can’t get up until it turns green.) This part of our morning is pretty unstructured. Sometimes we read together, sometimes he wants to play on his own, and sometimes he wants to do ‘work’ on his ‘computer‘ while I work on my computer.
8:30: Breakfast time for everyone! These muffins are one of our favorite breakfasts items!
9:30-10:30/11: Independent Playtime. If we have a busy day, we will skip Independent Playtime, or shorten it. I definitely try to make sure we have it several days a week because it helps with everyone’s attitudes so much.
10:30/11:00-12:30: If we’re having a lowkey day, we will play outside or go to a park for an hour or so before lunch. We also love to play this game on our front porch which you probably know if you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories! I love this time of day because I have just spent Independent Playtime catching up on blog stuff and house work so I feel as if I can really relax and play with my kids.
12:30: Lunchtime! If it’s nice outside, the kids will eat outside at their picnic table.
1:00-4:00: Naptime. The girls will nap for 3-hours, or even more if we’ve had a big day. Theo doesn’t nap every day at this point, but I still make him get into bed and rest. If he’s gone a few days without napping, I make him get right into bed at 1:00 and he will sleep for 2-3 hours. If he doesn’t seem too tired, I’ll let him stay up with me and help prep dinner or do something fun, and then he will rest from 2:00-4:00.
4:00-4:30: I am not the biggest fan of doing any sort of art with my kids. It just makes such a big mess and they don’t really seem to enjoy it! I try to spend 30 minutes…. most days… doing some sort of coloring or play dough. Sometimes we even just blow bubbles together or throw on some music and dance. I like to do something all together right after naptime.
5:00-6:00: I usually have dinner mostly prepped, but from 5-6, I finish getting everything ready. If Josie and Margo are clingy and whiny, I’ll give them some water and carrots to munch on and then send them outside to play. If I have a more complex dinner that I’m making or they’re extra grumpy, I’ll go ahead and turn the T.V. on for them so I can finish up dinner without having to worry about them.
6:00: Ben doesn’t get home from work until about 6:15 if he takes the early train, so we try to eat as soon as he gets home. Family dinners are very important to us, so we make it work!
6:45: After dinner we play outside on the front porch, in the back yard, or go for a bike ride or walk.
7:30: Most nights we ask the kids to clean up the playroom before heading upstairs to get ready for bed. Notice how I said most nights, haha! Sometimes we are too tired, the kids are too grumpy, and we just put them to bed. At least the toys are contained in the playroom, so I don’t worry about it too much!
8:00: Kids are in bed!
There you go, that’s our summer schedule for our toddlers and preschooler! Let me know if you have any questions. Head over and follow me on Facebook for more tips for life with 3 kids!