Here is a look at how our day is mapped out:
During the early morning, R plays independently while I prepare for our outing and the day.
1. Outing ~ 10 – 12:00pm
Each day, we start off by heading out to places in and around our community. Sometimes we go out with friends and other times, we go on our own.
Goal: The purpose of these outings is to promote healthy emotional development as R explores and tries new things and learns to take risks. Further, morning outings also help with R’s social development as she learns to make friends and get along with others.
LUNCH & NAP
2. Outdoor Play ~ 2:30 – 4pm
After a nice nap, rain or shine, we spend some time outdoors. This time is definitely important for R since it helps her expend some energy and she is better able to focus during planned activity time.
Goal: During outdoor play, our main focus is on developing gross motor skills through fun activities that encourage movement.
3. Planned Activity ~ 4 – 5:30pm
Since young children often have difficulty holding their attention for extended periods of time on one activity, I plan a number of activities per day for R. I do want R to learn to hold her attention for longer periods of time, so I try to plan activities that are engaging for her. Of course, some activities are more successful than others.
Goal: During this time, the activities are designed to target specific skills. I usually begin with a demonstration, then provide R with some guided practice and then finally, have her try the activity independently. While she plays, she is learning to think, remember, imagine, gather, organize information, solve problems, and develop judgment. Other skills that are developed include learning to communicate through talking and listening and refining her fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
4. Independent Play ~ 5:30 – 7:00pm
Before dinner, R engages in unstructured play in which she is the master of her own world. This time is not only enjoyable for her, but it provides me with some much needed time to cook dinner, drink a cup of tea and enjoy some other things I love!
Goal: Independent play provides wonderful opportunities for R to learn to know and show a full range of feelings as she develops emotionally. This time also promotes the skills R needs to comfortably spend time independently of me.
DINNER & BEDTIME ROUTINE
Note about our Schedule:
This is the ideal schedule for our day; however, it is never set in stone! Things always change and the order in which we do activities can change from day to day. We don’t take the full length of time for the activities since we, of course, take time for meals and snacks. The four large chunks of time are there just as a guide for when we do things.
A question I often get is why have I chosen to do these things in this order? It’s pretty simple really, mornings are good for outings since there is the least amount of traffic. Next, I find R is more keen on doing planned activities after she expends some energy while playing outside. Finally, independent play happens last so that I have time to make dinner.
Note about Meals:
I’d like to begin by saying that I am no expert when it comes to meals for toddlers! Quite far from it, in fact! Little R is by no means a good eater. She struggled with reflux for over 14 months and has finally started tolerating more solid food. Through many trials and tribulations, I have come up with a plan for her.
At each meal, I try to give her food from at least three food groups. For snacks, I offer foods from at least two different food groups. Though R may reject specific foods during an initial introduction, I continue to repeatedly offer her foods over the course of many weeks. I also try to expose her to a large variety of foods to encourage her to not become a picky eater.
Our drinks of choice include water and whole milk.