By TMoM Team Member Anna Keller
To say this is a different school year is obviously a HUGE understatement, and I’m sure many other preschool families are finding themselves in the same position we are: opting to keep our kids at home this fall. I know this isn’t an option for all families, but since my husband and I both work from home, and I have a good amount of flexibility to my work in particular, we decided we would be able to swing this new routine (especially after nearly six months of practice during these past weeks!).
Our 3.5-year-old daughter, Maggie, had been going to a full-day preschool program prior to quarantine, so this is a big change for us all to be home together. Thankfully, we also have family in town to help shoulder a bit of the load. (This is a new development as of just a few months ago, and we are SO grateful!)
The past few months have included lots of play time at home and some supplemental learning and intentional structure, but now that the school year is back underway, Maggie and I are ready to kick things into gear when it comes to more of a routine. I know lots of this will ebb and flow – and we’ll learn along the way what works best for our little family – but here’s what we have in mind as a starting point:
- Wake Up + Breakfast: I often teach Pure Barre in the morning at 6 a.m., which works well because I’m just getting home as Maggie’s ready to wake clock turns green at 7am. She likes to ease into the day (I don’t blame her!), so this fall I anticipate we’ll do some reading time/”coffee” time when she first wakes up, then eat breakfast and get dressed for the day.
- Virtual Preschool: We’ve loved using free resources from Play to Learn Preschool over the past few months, and I recently purchased the fall classes from Ms. Jamie. Maggie LOVES these 30-minute learning sessions, and I know it will be a wonderful part of our morning routine this fall. I plan for us to watch these videos each morning after breakfast. (Oh, and one of the best things about virtual preschool is it comes with supplemental activities you can do throughout the day to build on the lesson!)
- Play Time: This might mean taking a walk around the neighborhood, heading outside to kick the soccer ball or let Maggie ride her bike, or it might be indoor play (a board game or Play-Doh, for example). Some days, we might leave the house to go to a park or spend time outside with a friend or two during this time slot, too!
- Lunch Time: Thankfully Maggie is a good eater, so typically meal time isn’t too much of a struggle at our house. We like to listen to music or sometimes read a book or watch a Storyline Online story while lunch is prepped.
- Supplemental Learning Time: After lunch, we’ll dive into some of the fun activities that build on the preschool lesson from earlier in the day. These include activities like coloring, cutting, letter tracing, and more.
- Rest Time: Though Maggie is starting to nap less and less (tragic!!!), she still has a two-hour rest time each day. She knows that if she doesn’t want to sleep, she can play quietly in her room or read instead, which she adheres to MOST of the time. (Using the ready to wake clock during rest time is critical!) I’m able to get some of my work in while Maggie rests, or do things around the house like laundry. Lately, though, I’ve been using the time to rest myself, as I’m 14 weeks pregnant with Baby #2. Getting even a short nap in most every day has been incredible!
- Play Time: After her rest time, Maggie will have independent play time. She can either be in her playroom or with me, but I’ll use that time to prep dinner or do chores around the house. Maggie loves helping with chores, so I plan on involving her as much as possible!
From there, we’ll move into dinner time, then the bedtime routine (potentially with some post-dinner play or TV time worked in, depending on what time we finish eating). Maggie is typically in bed by 7:30 pm each night, and she has always been a great sleeper so we can count on the time after about 7:30 pm being ours.
If you’re a preschool parent who’s also venturing into this world of being at home with your kiddo allllll day every day, I’d love to hear what you have in mind for the upcoming months, too!
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