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Q & A: How to Structure the Day for a Toddler and a School Aged Child

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How to Structure the Day for a Toddler and a School Aged Child | A Virtuous Woman

This question was in response to my article: Structuring the Day for a Toddler.

Q: I like what you said about being present, but in your schedule you don’t mention daily interruptions like volunteering at school or going to the grocery store. I seem to go somewhere 3 or 4 times a week and they are at different times. Am I doing a larger disservice to my elementary aged kids by not volunteering or my toddler by not being scheduled.

P.S. Your house sounds clean!

A: This is a great question!

I think the biggest gift you can give your children is to be “present.” When you have more than one child, you may have to divide your time and be “present” with different children at different times.

For instance, even in my home, I have to divide my time between each of my children and my husband. Sometimes we are all doing things together. Sometimes I am talking one on one with only one child or maybe I’m sitting together with two of them reading a book.

Sometimes one child will be talking to me and another child will come in and interrupt and I will say something like, “Wait, it’s Emily’s turn right now. Wait until she’s finished.”

My point is that, as long as you are making it a priority to love and nurture each of your children every day you’re okay! The schedule I presented was only a suggestion. Every family situation is different. Whether a mom volunteers at the school a few times a week or works outside the home or is home all day with all of her kids, you can provide a gentle routine to your day and to the hours you are at home.

For example, start with the morning routine. This could consist of {after the children are dressed and ready for school} breakfast and morning worship and prayer before you head out the door. Create traditions for the time that you say good-bye to the older children, i.e. have a special saying for good-bye like “See ya, later Alligator.” Or special hug. Include your toddler in it.

When you come home from say, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., use that time to do a load of laundry, give your toddler a snack and maybe play a game together after you’ve done your morning chores.

When it’s time to go to the school for volunteering (or run errands, etc.), {I don’t know if you are dropping the toddler off at a sitters}, it’s time to go to school. When it’s time to come home from school, keep the afternoon routine the same. Come home, eat a snack, encourage some play time or nap time, whatever it is your child needs.

End the day with a regular evening/bedtime routine that is familiar and that your toddler can look forward too. He will know he’s loved! Bath time, bedtime story, lots of hugs and kisses, etc. And so will your older children because you are taking an active roll in his or her life. And that’s really what’s important. Being present and taking an active roll!

By keeping the morning and evening routines fairly “routine” you’ll help your youngest child to feel secure by knowing what to expect.

Sounds to me like you are a great, Mom. Keep seeking HIM and God will bless your efforts!

As for my house being clean, sometimes it is and sometimes it’s not. Right now… it’s half and half. We’ve had a lot of upheaval in our lives recently and I take things one day at a time. I’m gone from home a lot and it makes it hard. I catch up {hopefully} on Sunday afternoons.

I don’t want to come across as perfect. There have been times in my life where I really have it together and other times when I just feel broken {like this past year}. But thankfully, God loves me anyway!

I do want to add that I prefer my days to be the same. And being at home most of the time makes a huge difference in the quality of your/ my homemaking. It makes it so much easier to have a solid routine and keep the house clean. It drives me crazy when everyday is different.

The thing is, life happens. And it can be really messy. And when you are really busy, it will be even messier.
We each have to decide how best to spend our time because really, TIME is all we have. Sometimes, things happen that are beyond your control and then you just have to give it all to God.

Right now, much of my life and time is out of my own control because we have elderly family members who require a great deal of my time and it takes me away from my home – which is where I really want to be. There are parts of my house that need a major overhaul right now because I am just not here often enough to do more than just the basics with a little extra on the side. It saddens me. I want to change things. I don’t know when things will change – it could be years.

Sometimes there isn’t an easy answer. I am open to suggestions!

I pray that God blesses your sweet family. These years will pass quickly. Savor each moment!

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  1. Hi Melissa! I'm new to the site, it looks AMAZING! I'm not sure where to ask/post a question so I hope this is alright. I'm reading this post on daily routines and I wonder if you have any experience/advice with homeschooling? Also homeschooling while having younger children as well? Thank you! Jenna L.

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