Most of us didn’t plan on having to be homebound for 2+ weeks with all of our children, yet here we are! If you and your family are in the middle of this social distancing, there’s enough to worry about without having to stress about your kids being out of school. Over the next days/weeks or however long our society is on hold, I have a preschool quarantine schedule that will change your life!
I’ve used Pinterest and various blogs to formulate many lesson plans and activities for my little one(s), which I plan to share with you all soon. For now, I thought I would start with disaster control: aka a Daily Schedule! Kids thrive off of schedules. I for one tend to resist them. Therefore, my schedule for Genny, while it is a routine, is extremely flexible. You can take from it what you want, change anything, etc. It’s a great place to start!
Duh, every day starts with this! Having a regular wake-up time may be helpful for you and your little ones to establish a schedule, but if having a set time is too difficult (due to lack of sleep, kids getting up, anxiety high, etc.) then don’t sweat it. I for one try to get up and going by 9, but if my allergies make my head feel like a balloon or the kids got up 5-6 times in the night, I allow myself to sleep until Nora wakes up.
Investing in a $1 pocket chart from Dollar Tree was one of the smartest things I have ever done. I made my own calendar cards from sentence strips, but you can grab my calendar card printables here if you don’t have those.
Each morning after Genny gets dressed, we place the correct cards in the calendar, say the date, check the weather, and sometimes we also do the days of the week songs. Lately, I’ve been skipping the songs since she knows the days of the week pretty well, but you can find my YouTube playlist for those here or you can tell Alexa, “Play ‘Seven Days of the Week’ by The Learning Station,” and “Play ‘The Days of the Week’ by The Kiboomers.”
I’m thinking of starting to do “The Months of the Year” song by The Learning Station while we do calendar because that’s what Genny needs to work on most right now.
- Calendar Card printables
- Days of the Week YouTube playlist (2 songs)
- “The Months of the Year” YouTube song by The Learning Station
Get Dressed/Go Potty
Genny’s able to go potty by herself (and get dressed, for the most part), so this isn’t a huge part of our routine. If your little one still needs help with these things, it may take some extra time. If you’re still working on potty training, check out our video on potty training bootcamp!
Currently, Genny has 3 chores that she’s responsible for completing most days: clean up her bathroom, unload the silverware, and feed the dog. Typically, these are completed before we start school. It’s handy for me to have her completing these “responsibilities” (as I refer to them) while I’m making her breakfast in the morning.
I made her this chore chart to laminate, stick on the fridge, and check off with a dry erase marker every morning. I love charts! They help keep Genny on track, and the more print exposure kiddos get, the better! You can create a free account on Canva and edit it to include your chores if you like. NOTE: Here is the link to the editable chore chart, but PLEASE make a copy before editing so others can use it as well!
- Editable chore chart (make copy before editing please)
Morning Boxes and Blue Boxes
See my full post on these grab-and-go activity boxes here. They’re an invaluable resource for any mama with young children. I have 15 different activity boxes with material lists and instructions that you can find under Toddlerhood > Education: 10 Back to School Activity Boxes and 5 DIY Activity Boxes for 2 Year Olds. Alternatively, you can search Pinterest for preschool and kindergarten activity box ideas. There are a ton on there!
I explain the difference between my Morning boxes and my Blue boxes in this post, but succinctly put, Morning boxes are structured activities while Blue boxes are more exploratory free play. I like to keep the boxes in these categories so there’s variety in each day. I also allow Genny to choose any Morning box she likes, but the Blue boxes have one for each day. Again, variety but with a bit of choice involved!
While my posts provide specific activities, you are welcome to do your own thing! If you’re wondering what skills your little one should be working on, check out this post where I outline goals (Physical, Emotional, Linguistic, and Intellectual goals) for two year-olds, or if you have tinies, be sure to grab my free printable milestone checklist for 0-18 months!
- 10 Back to School Activity Boxes
- 5 DIY Activity Boxes for 2 Year Olds
- 2 Year-Old Goals (Physical, Emotional, Linguistic, and Intellectual goals)
- 0-18 Month-old Milestone Checklist
Each day, I try to incorporate some kind of Bible time, whether it’s talking about a Bible story, watching a Bible video (we LOVE “What’s in the Bible? With Buck Denver” from Go Minno!), or just reading stories from the Bible. Honestly, this is an area of our lives that I’m constantly trying to improve!
- Go Minno streaming service
I’m a nerd who gets super excited by stuff like “word work”!! At any given time, we’re probably working on one letter of the alphabet (currently, we just finished “U” and need to do “V”), 2-3 sight words, and writing her name. Our Word Work time only lasts for about half an hour (because 3 year-old attention spans are pretty short), and I take cues from her on how receptive she is to the lesson. If I can tell she’s losing interest, getting bored, or getting frustrated, I wrap it up quickly. If she’s really rolling and gaining momentum, I may do more than usual. It depends on your little one.
It’s so important to remember that you can ALWAYS revisit a lesson. You can hit Pause anytime, come back to it later with a clearer head (maybe after a snack…or three), and try again. In my experience, it’s always better to take a break if you feel like either of you need one.
This is where Genny’s supposed to entertain herself. She has a room full of toys and games, and I don’t feel bad having her make her own amusement for at least 10-30 minutes each day. AT LEAST. Lately, she’s been getting more into the independent play stage of development, and it’s hilarious what she comes up with! Her thing lately has been dress-up. Every day, she comes into the living room with a different hat and a stethoscope or other prop.
Maybe this day has already come for you, or maybe it hasn’t. It’s a day every parent dreads… the day your child decides he or she does not need a nap anymore.
Why do they think this?
They nearly always do need one.
Anyway, if this day hasn’t come for you, then go ahead and call this “Nap Time”. If it has, then don’t worry, I’ve got you! The trick is to call it “Quiet Time”. During this time, your little one is confined to his or her room (or if you don’t have an entire room, it can be a section of the room, but preferably out of sight from wherever you will be). Genny is allowed to play, read, or sleep, and she chooses sleep about 90% of the time. The days where she does not sleep…well, I end up really wishing that she had.
Your child may resist quiet time, as mine did. In the case of Genny, it took several days of her crying at the baby gate for fifteen or twenty minutes before crawling into her bed, exhausted. Now, she usually accepts Quiet Time without crying, though she never passes up an opportunity to groan about it.
I do quiet time for an hour to an hour and a half, but I have learned to NEVER let her sleep past three o’clock, or she has a terrible time getting to sleep at bedtime. Whatever works for your kid, do that!
Having a time in the day carved out just for reading sounds beautiful to me. I want that for myself. Someday, I’d like to observe book time as a daily ritual. Alas, for now I at least want Genny to get some quality book exposure every day. We haven’t been sticking to this as a part of our daily routine for awhile. Rather, we’ve been reading books before bed due to weird, inconsistent events happening (ahem, the coronavirus…).
Genny always has a book that she is working on reading from the Bob Books collection. I picked these up at a thrift store, and while they’re pretty advanced for her still, we’re doing one book at a time that contains at least one of the sight words she has mastered. Another great resource is Reading A-Z where you can download and print books and lessons on your child’s reading level. This site has a free version that only allows a certain number of downloads per email you provide, so be aware of how many times you hit that “Download” button unless you’re willing to pay for the website.
Genny only has the patience to read one book at a time, and that is plenty for us right now. You can also just have your little one work on part of a book if that works best. Whatever you do, allowing your child to experience the pride of reading (anything at all!) on their own is one of the best teaching tools you can employ!
- Bob Books (You can find these on Amazon also or check your local Facebook Marketplace or Homeschool Groups)
- Reading A-Z
At this point, you might be thinking “There is no way on earth I’m going to survive all day with all these activities every single day.” Well that is what Free Time Activities are for! To avoid excessive clutter – okay, to lessen it – I put many of Genny’s activities and games up high in her closet where she can’t reach them. This includes puzzles, blocks, doll houses, her tea set, playdough, and more. Basically anything with a bunch of parts that I want to make sure stay together.
I took a picture of each of these activities, collaged them on a print-out, then laminated it into a sort of “menu”. Whenever I say, “Genny, go pick a free time activity,” she grabs it, picks an item, and I get it down for her. The rule is she has to play with it for at least 15 minutes before getting another one. And each activity needs to be cleaned up before anything else can come out as well.
When I’m nearly at my whit’s end but am not quite ready to turn on the TV, it’s nice to know I’ve always got the Free Time activities to fallback on. Speaking of TV…
No matter what you choose to do with your kids every day, taking breaks is a must! It is not reasonable or expected for anyone to entertain a child, even their own child, constantly from waking up to going to sleep every single day, so don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Have some go-to’s for when you or your kids need a break. Free Time activities, snacks, meals, playing outside, and even TV time are 100% okay!
I usually have Genny get some outside time before watching TV, and I try not to turn on the TV until after 4pm. Some days of course that doesn’t happen, and that is okay, too! TV is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s an amazing tool for teaching. In this post, I put together a list of guilt-free TV choices for toddlers. There are a lot of great resources there!
We can’t conclude a post on daily schedules for preschoolers and kindergarteners without addressing the “moving” component. Some of my favorite go-tos for getting out the wiggles are GoNoodle, Cosmic Kids, and Patty Shukla. These videos and websites (some even have apps) are educational, fun, and great for getting out that extra energy! See my YouTube playlist for all our favorites!
- Guilt-free TV choices for toddlers
- Cosmic Kids YouTube channel
- Patty Shukla YouTube channel
Preschool and Kindergarten Quarantine Schedule
Whether in quarantine or just trying to navigate every-day life at home, this printable schedule is here for you!
Click the image below for the download link.
Parents, you are doing the best you can with your kids, and you’re doing a great job. This time in which we’re living, where a virus is sweeping the entire world…well, it’s History. Fifty years from now, kids will be reading about the virus of 2020 in their history books. Don’t take that lightly. Give yourself credit where credit is due. The parents of today are facing many more and much more difficult obstacles than the parents of 2019. Together, we’ll make it through this.
What are you doing to pass the time? Share with me by commenting below!
Love, Emily XOXO