I remember not that long ago Googling ‘daily routines for a 3 year old’ because I was worried I wasn’t quite doing enough. It’s a constant worry isn’t it, am I playing enough? Am I taking them out enough? Do they get enough exercise? Chances are you are doing just fine but I thought it might be helpful for whoever stumbles across this to know how we structure our day on average and what we get up to each week.
Apologies if you aren’t interested in this type of post, I know it isn’t for everyone and it seems a little indulgent doesn’t it to assume people want to know how we spend our time, but I just know it was something I was researching recently so there you go.
An Average Nursery Day
My 3 year old goes to nursery 3 mornings per week, 9-12:30. This includes the lunch club so on these days I only make lunch for myself and my husband if he is around.
6:00 This is usually the time she wakes and comes into my bedroom to wake me up too. Depending on quite how shattered I am feeling, I will generally pass her the iPad for 20 minutes to watch Netflix while I psych myself up to get out of bed to face the day. I know all the experts say to get up before your family so that you can get a jumpstart on the day but screw waking up before 6am. Just no.
7:00 We are always downstairs by this point, the TV goes on, the toy box comes out and I make myself a coffee and my toddler a drink. Once I have finished my drink I head into the kitchen to make breakfast. Generally she has either toast and fruit or porridge/cereal and fruit. While she is eating breakfast I eat mine and make her packed lunch for nursery. This usually consists of a sandwich or a wrap, half a packet of crisps, some fruit and a malt loaf or fruit and nut type bar.
7:30 It takes my daughter ages to eat so around about now she is normally finishing up her breakfast so she goes into the lounge to play while I pop upstairs to get dressed/presentable.
8:00 I look at the clock and panic that we’re going to be late so I hurry Isabelle up the stairs to get dressed and do her teeth/hair. On two of our nursery days she has forest school so factor in a good 15 minutes wrestling her into her waterproofs here.
8:45 We are out the door and on the way to nursery.
9:00 Drop off finished and I head home to tidy up the mornings chaos. Load the dishwasher, decide what I’m making for lunch and generally just potter around. I might go to a gym class or go to the shops if I need any bits. I’m pretty lucky to have this time to myself so I make the most of it. Sometimes I take the time to have a really long, indulgent shower where I exfoliate and just generally pamper myself a bit because we all know they are a luxury when you have kids.
12:15 I am out of the door on my way to pick her up from nursery.
12:45 We are home and I usually have my lunch while Isabelle goes upstairs to see Daddy. He works nights so this is about when he usually wakes up.
1:00 – 3:00 This is playtime or get outside time depending on the weather and our general energy levels. So either we go out for a walk and a grab a takeaway coffee (and cake, always cake) with Daddy or play toys in the house. Either way, it is a nice bit of time that they like to spend together and I get to take a bit of a step back and potter about doing jobs normally like laundry or other such joys.
3:00 – 4:30 We alternate between swimming and softplay for this chunk of time. I have free swimming included in my gym membership so I am loathe to pay £5 for sticky softplay hell if I can avoid it but sometimes I’m just not up to swimming. Either way, this is usually an out of the house activity as Daddy has left for work around about now.
4:30 I’m in the kitchen making dinner. I make sure she has a hot dinner on nursery days as she has had a packed lunch for lunchtime. Usually something beige and reluctantly given as she is a pretty fussy eater. Tonight I’m cooking vegan sausages, mash and beans. I know she won’t eat the beans so I know I shouldn’t bother putting them on her plate but it makes me feel better to know I’ve offered them. Isabelle likes to interrupt me approximately every 8 seconds while I am making dinner for various unnecessary reasons. She is a ‘watch me, watch me!’ kinda kid so she struggles when she doesn’t have our full attention. Maybe that is only child syndrome? I don’t know. It’s hard going though.
5:30 She has a banana for pudding as I read somewhere that they encourage sleepiness, though I don’t know how true that is. We head upstairs and have a bubbly bath with lavender bath stuff. While she baths I generally potter around sorting laundry (again) or clean the bathroom. I also like to use the time to take my makeup off and cleanse my face so I can be all cosy and clean for the evening. Sometimes, if we have an exciting bath bomb from Lush or something I will get in with her and we will have a little play but generally she baths alone.
6:00 We get into our PJ’s and read a book. It seems to always be ‘The Tiger That Came to Tea’ at the moment which is driving me crazy but hey, that’s kids isn’t it… We have a cuddle, a kiss and an argument over why she doesn’t need 18 toys in bed with her. She does the whole ‘I need a wee/drink/chat’ thing as much as she can but I generally just don’t entertain it at all and get quite stern about her going to sleep now. I have been known to lose my shit from time to time but haven’t we all?
6:15-7:00 I’m FREE! Netflix, coffee, snacks… it’s party time.
Non Nursery Days
They are the same routine as above for the afternoon but the mornings usually consist of Baby Ballet on a Thursday (I say usually… it’s her first class tomorrow so hopefully it will be a regular thing) and Fridays are slow paced potter about days. We aren’t usually up and dressed until about 10am and I’m not going to lie, they contain screen time in the form of Netflix on the iPad or a movie on the TV while she has all of her toys out. If I start to feel that ever present mama guilt that we should be outside, then we may head to the park or to a National Trust place for a walk to collect random things off the floor that she likes to pick up.
Lunch is pretty much the same thing she has in her lunchbox, though I do try and make it look appealing.
So there you have it! Far too much screen time, a beige diet and a kid free mama before 7pm. How does your routine compare? I’m not very good in the way of playtime to be honest. Sitting down on the floor and doing the whole imaginative play is like fresh hell but I have developed excellent pretend cake critiquing skills and we play with her babies and play kitchen quite a lot. Generally though, I try and keep us so busy being out and about that I don’t feel guilty for not pretending to be Spiderman everyday. I also try not to worry too much if we have a lazy afternoon sometimes on the days she has spent the morning at nursery. You will notice I don’t really do crafts either. I hate crafts, luckily nursery do them all the time so I get off lightly there and only have to indulge a bit of colouring or rock decorating occasionally.
I have to say though, I watched a YouTube video the other day that made me feel incredibly inadequate as a mother. This woman was amazing! She did dedicated playtime in the kids bedroom with them every night, massaged them, lit diffusers with essential oils to help them sleep… Honestly it was like watching SuperMum. My own bedtime routine paled in comparison but it was fascinating to watch.