This post is the first in a new series for my blog. For a list of other topics covered, please click on the image below.
A few months ago, a mother in my homeschooling group who has 4 children under 7 noticed she was depending too much on large chunks of screen time to keep her older children entertained throughout the day. She reached out for ideas on how to fill a day without using the TV as heavily.
My kids get hardly any screen time. They watch maybe one 20 minute episode of Brother Francis a month, if that. So, I would say limiting screen time is quite doable, even with lots of little ones in the house. Here is our daily schedule, with 4 kids under age 6:
- 7 a.m.: morning play time (in their rooms or mine – some of my kids need morning cuddle time)
- 8 a.m.: dress/teeth/potty/morning chores
- 9 a.m.: prayer time, breakfast
- 10 a.m.: mandatory potty break, morning routine of stretches, school at home four days/week (Kindergarten, then preschool) while the others play in the living room. On days off: back yard time, play dates, shopping trips, walks, etc.
- 12 p.m.: prayer time, lunch
- 1 p.m.: nap time/quiet time
- 3 p.m.: mandatory potty break, play time (indoors or outside); I begin cooking for dinner
- 5:30 p.m.: clean up toys; prayer time
- 6 p.m.: dinner as a family
- 7 p.m.: play time (indoors our outside) or family activity, prayer time
- 8 p.m.: undress/teeth/potty, book, prayers, bedtime
- 9 p.m.: lights out; kids must stay in their room
I do require my older two (age 4 & 5) to have quiet time during the toddlers’ nap time. They know they have to whisper and can’t jump around/yell/bang things/etc. They begin quiet time in their rooms then gravitate to my room where their Lego bins, puzzles with smaller pieces, and their board games are only available during nap time. This rule makes for a nice change in noise level during the afternoon, and it keeps the tiny choking hazards out of my toddlers’ mouths.
Finally, you may notice the recurrence of “prayer time” in our schedule. We have found that family prayer times are so essential to our day-to-day life that I am going to dedicate a separate post to the topic here.
So, this is our daily routine. It is manageable, and it is broken into small chunks in different parts of the house to keep things interesting for young children to make it through the day. I am lazy by nature, and would love to just let my kids stay up as long as they want, or eat when they want, but if I did, the lives of all of our family members would suffer. Keeping to a routine has helped them (and me) flourish.
May God bless you, no matter what your day-to-day life looks like.