Let me be honest, I was not prepared to become a working stay-at-home mom. It took me about two weeks to come to grips with our new reality as a family in quarantine. I was even harder on myself because I am an Educator so I thought that I would be able to adapt to the changes needed to assist Madison throughout the day. Boy was I wrong! The past few weeks have come with many lessons and I can say that we have fallen into a routine. This routine has helped me to create an at-home daily preschool schedule that works for us.
Let me share with you how I went about creating an at-home daily preschool schedule:
- Be Realistic About Your Daily Work Responsibilities
Checking in with my calendar and other scheduling tools on a daily basis has become a huge necessity. Doing so helps me to know what I can accomplish each day from home. I have to determine the things that I can do alongside my preschooler or whether it is something that requires my undivided attention. I reference my planner/calendar against the flexible daily schedule to determine what has to be prioritized and what will be shelved.
- Create a Direct Line of Communication with your Supervisor
I have been fortunate to have supervisors that understand my obligations as a wife and a mother. I try to share as much with them as I can upfront about my responsibilities outside of work so that they will know why I can’t “yes” to everything or why I may need additional time to accomplish a task. What is working in my favor currently is the fact that globally we are ALL in the same position. At the same time, it is important for me to assure my supervisors that I will pull my weight so that I am able to maintain their consideration. Having a direct line of open and transparent communication is critical.
3. Create A Flexible Daily Schedule
The key word is FLEXIBLE. See below for the sample daily schedule that I am using. This schedule requires me to up no later than an hour and thirty minutes prior to my preschoolers start time so that I can accomplish some personal and professional needs first. You should note that there are times when I am working one-on-one with my child, working alongside my child (emails, phone calls, assignments) , and working independently (break time, tv time, quiet time, etc).
8:00-Take care of Madison’s hygiene and put on clothes for around the house
8:15-8:45-Breakfast and Bible
8:45-9:15- Outdoor time (if weather permits)/Indoor free play
9:20-9:50 -Basic Skills time
10:00-10:30-Partner work (Madison given independent work/Mommy does work related assignments)
11:00-11:30- Break for Madison
11:30-12:00- Shared Lunch Time
12:00-12:30-Technology Time for Madison
12:30-1:00- TV Break
3:15-3:30-Preferred Activity for Madison
3:30-4:00-Mommy preps to shut work down for the day
- My preschooler is an only child which means much of the schedule centers around her. Adjustments to the sample schedule are recommended for parents of multiples
- Some days are just messy so you do what you can and tweak it as you go
- Focus On Basic Skills
My preschooler is technically in Pre-K and on her way to Kindergarten this fall. In all transparency, I do have concerns about regression but I’m learning to let go of the things that I can’t control. Fortunately there is some overlap with pre/pre-k curriculum so I have chosen to focus on reinforcing the skill set that she currently has under her belt throughout the day. This includes: basic phonics and phonemic awareness, early literacy skills, number sense and sequencing, motor skills, life skills (i.e. name, birthdate, address, important phone numbers, calendar, weather, etc.). This is enough to keep us busy!
- Get Creative
Honing in on these skills has helped me to find creative ways to reinforce them AND to push in new concepts here in there. We both love music so we keep sound going fairly regularly. My preschooler loves to dance, she loves to draw and color, she also has interest in science and foreign language. We would refer to these things as “specials” during the school day so I try to incorporate these things as often as possible because I know that she will be more self-directed if left to work independently.
- Ask For Help
Many preschoolers are home during this time but they are still on the roster at their daycare which means parents are still paying tuition. If this is your situation, you are entitled to learning support and tools from the childcare center and you need to request this support as often as possible. Whether it is a work packet, learning plan with suggested resources or virtual learning experiences, take advantage of what you are still paying for.
At this particular time my husband is also working from home but he has less flexibility. He has, however, started “subbing” at times for me on days that are more hectic than others. I also try to give him advance notice so that he can make adjustments to his schedule, when possible.
Lastly, I have actually hired help for Madison. She is now virtually meeting with her teacher 1-2x/week which helps out tremendously from a workload standpoint. If you are in a position to do this, I would highly recommend it. In many cases, it may serve a dual purpose by relieving you and providing some financial support as childcare worker wages are being impacted during this time.
I will always encourage you to do what is best for you and your household. Additionally, I wrote a blog post a few weeks back that I highly encourage you to read as it will help you to reframe your thinking and value the importance of creating a healthy learning environment in the home.