Daily Summer Routine with Toddlers
Summer is the absolute best...am I right? But with kids running around aimlessly under foot it can get a little overwhelming, slightly monotonous, and totally out of control. In the (almost) six years of being a mommy I've figured out that this fam (okay...maybe it's just me?) thrives on routine. But when I thrive, I think my kids do too. And after years of a somewhat predictable daily routine, I can see that they find some rest and peace in knowing what to expect each day. There tends to be less complaining, less fighting, less begging for food, and just a general happiness. I dig it.
So here is a little run-down of what a normal summer day in home looks like.
7:30/8:00 am -- Kids are out of bed and heading downstairs for breakfast. Most days they enjoy the independence of making their own breakfast. But don't be too impressed. This typically includes a bowl of cereal, a granola bar and banana, or a pb&j. My two oldest learned this independent skill when their little brother came along seven months ago. And I don't hate it! The key for us has been having toddler friendly breakfast foods easily accessible (ie. HALF gallon of milk in the middle of the fridge instead of the top shelf, granola bars on the bottom pantry shelf right where their little eyes land).
8:00/8:30 am -- After I get the baby fed, we sit down at the breakfast table and do our family devotional together. For over a year now we have been working through this devotional. It's slightly over my 4 and 5-year-olds' heads but, I promise, they enjoy the challenge. And I have been shocked at how much they are putting together! Definitely recommend it and look forward to doing this companion devotional in the future.
After we study their devotion together, I read this adult devotion to them. Do they understand it? Absolutely not. But I believe the Lord can use it to wash their little minds and hearts in His Truth.
8:30/9:00 am -- Free play begins. Little brother is still awake and a little needy so the big boys play while I entertain him, clean up from breakfast, unload/reload the dishwasher, etc. Most of the time, you'll find my boys either playing with these or these.
During this time I also prepare their table time activities where they are ready to begin as soon as little brother goes down for a morning nap.
9:30 am -- Littlest brother goes down for a nap and the big boys begin table time. I do my best to have activities out that use different areas of their brains. Some are more independent activities, some are activities that they can do together! If I'm on top of it, I turn a little music on and they stay occupied and happy for 45 min to an hour. Some of our favorite table time activities include: puzzles like this one or this one, brain toys like this or this, coloring books like this, easy games like this or this, and of course this classic fave.
10:30 am -- If the weather is even semi nice, the bigger boys play in our back yard. Sidewalk chalk, water guns, frisbee, or tossing games are some easy, affordable, and somewhat controlled activities that they can do by themselves or we can do as a whole family. This helps them get a little energy out before lunch time. Win!
11:00/11:30 am -- When little brother wakes up from his morning nap we either eat and play at home together or we head out for a little lunchtime adventure (park, splash pad, library, play date, running errands, etc.) If it is one of our play-at-home days we typically head back outside briefly for some post-lunch/pre-nap energy releasing. Because with boys, you can never have too much of said wild play.
1:30 pm -- Afternoon naps begin! And all through the house, not a creature was stirring (at least some days). As an introvert, this quiet time in our home is crucial. Crucial, I tell you. Most days this includes me reading to our bigger boys and them reading independently before their heads hit the pillow. Our current favorite reads are this book, this book, and this book.
3:30/4:00 pm -- Naps are over and our older boys are allowed to have up to an hour of screen time (whether this is tablet time or a Netflix show.
After screen time we've made it to dinner prep! Once dinner is consumed, bellies are happy, and it's time to play outside again. Play, play, play, play, play. There's a theme to this summer madness;) I think most parents would agree that bedtime is a sweet time together. And we try to milk it for all it's worth. Then little boys begin to slumber, resting up for the next day because there is more playing to be had.
Have I mentioned that I love summer?