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How to Create a Structured Day for a Child: Part 1
Mornings ~ Time to wake up, celebrate the day, and get some energy out!
6:00 - 7:00 am - (Or whenever child wakes up) ~ Time to get up!~ child can play in their room while breakfast is being prepared
7:30 am - Breakfast time! Fix breakfast for the child. Example: eggs and pancakes, healthy smoothie (I will post the recipe for a healthy smoothie that children will enjoy)
8:00 am - Time to get dressed/ready for the day!
- Pick out an outfit ~ letting child pick out their own clothes, if he/she is old enough, is a fun way for them to get involved and enjoy getting ready
- Brush teeth
- Comb / style hair
8:30 am - Watch a video ~ half an hour of an educational or biblical DVD is OK and fun for kids.
- It is a good idea to limit TV time to half an hour to an hour a day, depending on the age of the child
- Children younger than one year old should not watch TV, as studies have shown that it can stunt their brain development / cause attention problems in later life
- TV can be fun and educational for kids, and can spark their creativity!
- Using this time to clean up the breakfast dishes is effective for mom / nanny or caregiver
- If the child is small, you can substitute a morning nap at this time instead
9:00 am - Craft time!
This is a fun time that kids can look forward to! There are many options as to what you can do during this time. The sky is the limit! Some ideas:
- Go on the back porch and do finger-painting at a craft table *Pro Tip* ~ Have plenty of hand wipes ready to wipe off dirty fingers so paint doesn't get all over things like the screen door, etc. *Pro Tip* ~ Interact with the child, i.e. get on their level and finger paint with him/her too!
- Have child sit at the kitchen table and color with crayons, either on white paper or with coloring books
- Prepare a craft in advance for child to do that is age appropriate. This could include the use of stickers, crayons, glue sticks, plastic "eyes", pop-poms, colored construction paper, kid scissors (supervised) etc. The items utilized should appropriate to their age and fine motor skill level.
10:00 am - Read Books / Do a Puzzle
- It is a good idea to instill a love of reading and imagination in a child at as young of an age as possible!
- Even if a child is less than a year old, he/she can still "read" books with you; you can read to him/her out of baby picture books, and even allow the child to pick out which book they want as they get bigger
- *Pro Tip* Kids get a kick out of going to the library and picking out books that interest them. Taking a trip to the library once every couple of weeks is a very fun outing for them! It can also help them develop their interests as they learn more about their favorite topics, i.e. dinosaurs, cars, insects, airplanes, or perhaps dolls, colors, etc... the possibilities are endless!
- Kids also love puzzles. Puzzles must be age-appropriate (not too many pieces for their age level - it will state the age category on the box).
- Puzzles help kids develop logic and critical thinking skills, and finishing them creates a great sense of accomplishment!
- This is a also a good time to do some Bible reading with the child. There are age-appropriate children's Bibles that can be a real blessing to children, teaching them about God and the difference between right and wrong. The stories will also stick with them, and believe it or not they really do carry the lessons into their everyday lives!
11:00 am - Creative play with toys / imagination
- Encourage kids to play and use their imaginations!
- Kids love playing with pretend food and kitchens, and playing "shopping"
- Interacting with a child and playing with him/her at his/her level lets that child know that you care and that you can have fun, too!
- Interacting with kids on their level also prevents fights from breaking out, because they don't have to act out to get your attention!