Inside: Staying at home this summer? Find out how to do Summer Camp at Home with this simple daily schedule for toddlers & preschoolers.
Some parents hear the word “routine” and automatically start running in the other direction.
They instantly picture a perfectly organized mom holding a clipboard ushering her kids around from one activity to the next.
Real life is messy. There are missed naps, sick kids, and bad weather to contend with. Add on to that: kids of multiple ages (and needs) and different temperaments and a mom running on little sleep – and that’s more like real life with kids.
And yet, even with all of these factors in play, you can still have a successful daily routine. Yes, it can be done!
Think of your daily routine like your game plan or your road map for the day.
Without your road map, you’re lost.
My favorite parenting expert, Dr. Laura Markham states: “Use a schedule…otherwise, you have to invent everything as you go along, and every minute is an invitation to a power struggle.”
And if you’re the parent of a toddler or preschooler, I don’t think I need to tell you what it’s like to get into a power struggle with a 2 year old 🙂
If you’re looking for a Summer Camp at Home Daily Schedule – I’ve got you covered.
More on Routines…
- My 2 Year Old’s Daily Routine
- How to Structure the Day for Preschoolers
- Preschool at Home: A Daily Homeschool Plan
It’s worth noting…
Our little ones are at this stage where they *need* us 24/7. I like to remind myself that it won’t always be this way.
There will come a summer when they ride off in a car with a friend and head to the beach, all without their mama.
But right now, while they’re little, they depend on me. And I do not take that responsibility lightly.
How to do Summer Camp at Home
The first thing you’ll need to figure out is – you guessed it – your family’s daily routine.
From there it’s easy to pencil in activities, outings, and summer bucket list items.
Here is a detailed sample of our daily routine with two kids.
6AM – 7AM: I get ready for the day
- I try my best to get up and get dressed before my kids come downstairs. I always feel more *ready* for the day I when I do this.
- This post shares how to keep your toddler or preschooler in their room until 7 AM.
7 AM – 9:30 AM: Breakfast & Independent Play (sometimes TV if necessary)
9:30 AM – 11:30 AM:
Sometime between 9 & 10, we head outside. It gets very hot where we live, so we like to play outside as early as possible.
- If we’re planning to head out for the morning to the playground, we try to be out of the house by 10 and back home around lunchtime.
- Sometimes it’s way too hot out and we’ll stay inside to do a hands-on sensory play activity.
- In our Summer Survival Guide I share easy play activities anyone can set up using mostly household items. There are three different sections: one for outdoor ideas, and one for indoor, rainy day ideas, plus ideas for inexpensive or free summer outings. Plus simple “themes” for Summer Camp at Home.
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Cool down
- The kids cool down and play inside while I make lunch. Then we clean up and head upstairs for naptime or quiet playtime. Here is a list of easy toddler lunch ideas!
1PM – 3PM: Naptime or quiet time – whatever the day calls for.
- If your toddler struggles with taking a nap or your preschooler struggles with playing independently during quiet time, this resource can help you tackle both problems.
- Some days are a total wash and I just let the girls watch a Disney movie. Just keeping it real.
Related: How to Make a Quiet Time Bin
3PM – 4:30 PM: Backyard Water Play
- This is when I turn on the sprinkler and have the girls get out more energy before bed. Please remember all activities must be supervised by an adult.
- If you don’t have a backyard, this is a great time to set up a sensory bin, scooping station or even a water table.
- If it’s raining or too hot, we’ll do one of the rainy day activities from the Summer Survival Guide.
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM: Bathtime & Watch TV & Dinner
- After playing outside in the water, I like to give the kids a bath before dinner. I’ve found this actually helps speed up the bedtime routine and makes the end of the day run smoother.
- I almost always have my girls watch TV while I make dinner so I can actually get dinner ready quickly and not juggle a million things at a time.
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM: Brush teeth, bedtime stories & off to sleep!
Yes, we do an early bedtime. My girls also wake up early (no matter what time they go to sleep), so I always have them in bed early. Early bedtimes are essential for little kids and for our sanity as moms. I love this post from The Military Wife & Mom on early bedtimes.
Here is the daily routine breakdown without the detailed notes:
6 AM – Wake up before kids
7AM – 9:30 AM – Breakfast & Independent Play
9:30 AM – 11:30 AM – Outside Play / Activities
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Indoor Play, Lunch & Clean Up
1 PM – 3 PM – Naptime or Quiet Time
3 PM – 4:30 PM – Backyard Water Play
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM – Bath, TV, Dinner or TV, Dinner, Bath
5:30 PM – 6:30/7 PM – Get Ready for Bed & Bedtime
- For reference, my girls are 3 and 5. This routine can work for siblings of multiple ages. Factor in naptimes as necessary.
- Remember that times given are approximate and meant to be a guideline. Adjust times as necessary for your toddler’s wake-up time and bedtime.
- Depending on the weather, or what outings are available in your area, you can flip around the day as necessary. For example: water play in the morning and an outing in the afternoon.