Before answering this question, I want to share a bit about how I got to this point where I have a scheduled day with my daughter. When I first became pregnant, I had no intention of becoming a stay at home mom. I am a very passionate teacher and I absolutely loved my job. I always imagined that I’d continue teaching forever. Well, like people say, having a child changes everything. My husband and I have discussed our options numerous times. We have thought about getting a nanny or sending our daughter to daycare, but none of these options seemed quite right for us. The decision to stay at home with my daughter was not an easy one, but it is the right one at this time. At first, there was no schedule or routine beyond my daughter’s napping and feeding times. Most days, we were at home all day and we were both just miserable. I decided I needed to make a change. I knew I wanted to engage my daughter more in daily activities and I wanted us to get out of the house every day. I started thinking about how I scheduled my days with my Kindergarten and Grade 1 students and thought about what aspects of teaching I could bring into our home. A scheduled day consisting of four chunks of time is what I came up with.
I often get asked about how I plan my days and weeks on Instagram when other moms see what we get up to each and every day, so I thought I’d share my secrets here.
I began surfing the net for activities and play places for kids around our area and started making a list of places to visit and things to do. Of course, some things on my list are only applicable to people who live in Vancouver, BC, Canada, so I’m going to post more generic things here. Hopefully some of these can spark some ideas for places you may want to visit
1. Ride Public Transit
2. Kids Markets
3. The Beach
4. Public Parks
5. Waterfront or Quays that have shops and walk ways
6. A Farm
7. The Zoo
8. Indoor Playgrounds
9. Science Worlds/Centres
10. The Aquarium
12. Animal Shelter
13. Old Folks Homes (call ahead to see if they take visitors)
14. Kids Festivals
15. Open Gym times at the Community Centre
16. The Pool
17. The Mall
18. A Friend’s Home
19. Strong Start or similar programs that are usually at schools and are designed for parents and kids
20. Learning Together Through Play Centres – similar to strong start programs
21. Art classes
22. Flower Gardens (free or paid)
23. The Library
24. Hiking Trails
25. The Pumpkin Patch
27. The Grocery Store
28. The Post Office
29. The Fire Hall
30. A Craft Fair (my personal favourite place!!)
31. Farmer’s Market
32. The Movies
33. A Restaurant
In terms of my day, I sometimes plan where we are going to go ahead of time; especially when it involves meeting up with friends. Other times, I just get in the car with my daughter and see where we end up.
Tips for a successful outing and preparing to leave:
1. I have a playpen in our bathroom that has a bunch of R’s favourite toys in it. She’s in there while I shower and get dressed in the mornings. There are always some tunes playing on my phone in the background that help to keep R entertained in times where she wants out of the playpen and I am not finished getting dressed.
2. R plays independently while I make us breakfast. Since R can feed herself, I eat quickly and use the time while she is strapped in the high chair to pack her lunch and our bag.
3. For R’s lunch, I always pack some fruit, a veggie squeeze pouch, and some sort of easy to eat meal. Some examples include: hummus and pita, a blueberry waffle, a quesadilla spread with refried beans and cheese, or a peanut butter sandwich. In addition, I take water in one sippy cup and and whole milk in another. Plus, if all else fails, I always have a mix of goldfish snacks and dry cereal to offer her.
4. Things I always keep in my big purse are: diapers and wipes in a ziplock bag, a hat, sunscreen, extra clothes, a bunch of paper towels, wipes (since a sink is not always easy to access to wash little hands), my portable high chair made by “My Little Seat”, a table top cover by “Summer” (used only on occasions when it’s necessary), and “Skip Hop” lunch kit that includes a reusable ice pack.
5. Before we leave to head home for R’s nap, I always feed her where ever we are. The reason for this is that R falls asleep on our way home and then all I need to do when I get home is transfer her into her crib for a nap.