50: Activities and Schedule for Little Ones

We’ve had several people ask about what to do for chores and activities for kids in that 1-4 years old phase. It’s that phase when they are old enough that they need something to do, and they are young enough that they can’t be very helpful.

This phase can be particularly difficult if you have a rambunctious child, or have a couple of kids in this age group. For there to be any peace in the home, I’d recommend adding some structure. I don’t think you need to schedule out every minute, but if you have several scheduled things each day it will help your child not have to come up with his own creative ways of making your life miserable. Give him some simple tasks, like putting away the silverware, picking up, or just about anything that will occupy him for twenty or thirty minutes.

Even if you just have 3 hours a day that are somewhat structured, that will help you have some time for a quiet time and a little bit of peace. If you’ve got bored kids clinging to your leg all day or getting into mischief, that is going to wear you down. Add some structure.

In our family, we also have the older kids take turn spending some one-on-one time with their little younger siblings at times. This helps keep the little ones occupied, and also helps develop peer relationships. Of course, not everyone has older siblings to help.

Here are some other ideas that my wife passed on to me that several moms in our church do with their kids:

Activities for little ones

  • Coloring
  • Scissor time (I’m assuming that doesn’t involve running)
  • Lace and trace (Cardboard sewing with string)
  • Play-Doh
  • Foam or refrigerator magnet letters (ie. Sort by color, letters, etc…)
  • Puzzles
  • Stringing beads
  • Computer time
  • Blanket time

Schedule for little ones

Here’s a sample schedule that a mom in our church uses with her kids. Once she implemented it she said it reduced her need for discipline by about 50%:

  • Breakfast
  • Get dressed
  • Blanket time (30 min.)
  • Play outside (30-45 min.)
  • Snack time
  • Table time (20-30 min.)
  • Video (mom shower)
  • Lunch – free time
  • Computer time (20 minutes)
  • Nap
  • Video during dinner prep
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