Routines and rituals are important to children. You probably already have certain routines in place for your child at home when it comes to different parts of your day. Take bedtime for example; bath, put on pyjamas, brush teeth, read a book, say goodnight. Chances are if you were to miss any of these things your kids would notice! Some children will even get quite upset if something in the regular part of their day is different than usual, while others can adapt more easily to changes in routine. When my oldest chid was younger, we would always try to give as much “notice” as possible when a regular part of our routine would need to change for whatever reason. We would do this by talking about the new event so it wouldn’t come as a surprise.
I apply the same tactic when it comes to the routine/flow of our day in my home daycare. We have a general schedule that we stick to so the children know what to expect. We don’t always stick to the exact times; the beauty of running a home daycare is that I have flexibility. But this is generally what our day looks like:
7:00 The program is open
7:00 Play-based learning activities
8:15 Tidy up, bathroom routine, and wash hands
9:00 Outside time (depending on the weather- too hot or too cold)
10:00 Outside time (depending on the weather- too hot or too cold)
11:15 Come inside, bathroom routine, wash hands
12:00 Get the beds out (some kids help others read books)
12:15 Group time: music and stories
12:30 Sleep time
2:45 Bathroom routine, wash hands
3:30 Outside time
4:30 Program is closed
As you can see, we spend A LOT of time outside; sometimes we are even out at the start of the day right at 7 am. This has been our routine in the summer. On the really hot days however (or in the winter), our morning outside time is only an hour (out from 9-10am then inside from 10 until lunch). Also, the times in which the children wake up from nap always varies, so we usually have a little playtime while the kids are transitioning from sleep time.
We also have mini routines within this schedule that the children have grown accustom to. For example, when it’s time to ready for outside; they get completely ready (some with assistance), then they can look at a book from the basket I have by the door.
I hope this helps you; this is the schedule that works best for us, your may look different. Keep your children’s needs in mind and give warnings when possible if there are any major changes (outings).