What should you include in a daily schedule for a 5 year old? Check out these activities to do at home or out and about, morning or evening!
Even five years later, parents can still use a daily schedule to keep life humming along. Maybe you had a routine when your child was younger, but have let things slide these days. He’s getting bored easily, and bedtime has pretty much gone out the window. He’s even been having some behavioral issues.
You want to restructure your days and stick to a schedule to see if doing so can help. After all, keeping the family fed, cleaned, and entertained can be pretty challenging. And with no nap time at this age, you’re left juggling the day’s activities every waking hour.
What are a few activities you can include in a daily schedule for a 5 year old?
Creating a daily schedule for 5 year old kids
Now that your 5 year old is no longer taking a nap, your daily schedule is a lot more flexible than when he was an newborn or toddler. He might even be in preschool or kindergarten, which can take up several hours a day.
Still, you can go stir-crazy doing the same activities you’ve always done. Perhaps you want to include more learning opportunities in your day or hope that a bit of structure can curb the misbehavior you’re starting to see.
Below, I’ll share some of our favorite activities to do during this age. You won’t find hour-by-hour sample schedules, but rather several ideas you can incorporate into your day. Hopefully, you can find something to include in your daily schedule:
1. Physical play
If weather permits, include time to play outside and get active. Spend time in the backyard or patio, even if just to have a snack or putter around in the garden.
You can also make it a trip by going to a nearby park or playground, riding a scooter around the block, or throwing a ball or frisbee back and forth. If it’s warm outside, swim in the pool or visit a local splash park.
If you can’t head outdoors, include physical play in your home. You might have a dance party, race around the house, or even do exercises like jumping jacks and sit-ups.
Tip: Look through toys for physical activities to do. You might find items like hula hoops, jump ropes, tennis balls—anything that you may have bought once but haven’t brought out in a while. This can be a good excuse to get outdoors and play.
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2. Independent play
One of the best—and, in my home, most important—activities to include in your day is time to let your child play however he wants. Yup, carve a time in his day to do… nothing.
Well, not nothing per se, but a time when nothing is on your agenda. It’s all too easy for us to cram our days with things to do, even if well-meaning. But kids need time to simply tinker at home and decide what they want to do.
And if it sounds boring, even better! This free time encourages him to be creative and find solutions to overcome his boredom.
How exactly do you schedule free play? Set aside a time when he can play with toys and crafts without too much of your help. You might even do a task nearby, like cooking lunch or tidying the house. You’re nearby for company, but you’re not telling him how to play.
3. Sensory play
Even older kids learn and explore through their senses, so try to include simple sensory play in your day. For instance:
- Fill a tub of water and a scrub brush and have her wash kitchen plates or toys. Offer a towel to dry them off.
- Rub and smell different scents of herbs in the garden.
- Have her help you roll balls of dough when you bake (or play with any dough you no longer need).
- Draw with sidewalk chalk on the driveway.
4. Local library
Your local library likely hosts many activities throughout the week, from crafts to magic shows to story time. Find a few libraries you enjoy visiting and note their activities on your calendar.
Besides the crafts and activities, visiting the library also instills the value of reading and learning. Your child gets to explore shelves of interesting books and see other children doing the same. You’re able to sit and read with her and bring books home to read.
It’s never too early to include your 5 year old with chore time around the house! He might enjoy being assigned responsibilities he’s never done before.
To get him started, first show him the step-by-step process on how to do the chore. Then, do the task with him. After that, see if he can take on the task on his own. For instance, show him how to put his dirty clothes in the laundry, then ask him to help you. After he gets the hang of it, have him finish the task himself.
If he’s in school, show him how to pack his lunch and school bag in the mornings. Ask him to wipe the dinner table after meal time.
And remember to praise your child’s efforts more so than a perfect finished result.
6. Learning activities
Carve time in your day for a few learning activities. Imagine what your child would be doing in kindergarten, and find activities she can do at home. Perhaps that’s simple worksheets, reading books together, or playing a math game.
This is also a great time to incorporate open-ended art activities like play dough, painting, and simple crafts. You could help her practice writing her name, and then decorating it with crayons. Place alphabet magnets on the fridge that he can tinker with.
And learning activities can be incorporated throughout the day simply by engaging and talking with her.
As you’re walking around the neighborhood, count how many flowers she can find, and in what colors. Describe how they’re similar or different (“That white flower is much smaller than the yellow one we saw earlier”).
Yes, you can still run errands with your child without overwhelming him or feeling like he’s not getting something out of it.
The trick is to stick to one errand a day if possible, especially if you have to get in and out of the car to get from one to the other. Kids are willing to go on errands so long as they’re not too long. Then, try to include him in the errand as much as you can. Perhaps you’ll ask for his opinion, or get his help with putting items in the cart.
Lastly, you can also combine a difficult errand with a special treat. Maybe you’ll go to the hardware store, then afterward order smoothies together.
8. Screen time
Does your child have screen time during the day? To avoid power struggles, establish rules about how long she can use gadgets or have some TV time. She might also have responsibilities she needs to complete before having the privilege of going on the internet to play games.
For instance, that might be 30 minutes of television during school days. On weekends, you might be more lenient with watching a movie or allowing her time to play a game on tablets. She might have to clean up her Legos or tidy her bedroom beforehand.
You don’t have to give screen time at all, but if you choose to, setting limits can establish appropriate boundaries.
9. Bedtime routine
No schedule would be complete without winding down from the day with evening routines.
This can be a challenging part of the day since some school aged children resist going to bed when everyone else seems to still be awake. But with consistency, your child can look forward to your bedtime activities and follow a sleep schedule.
Start by doing the same rituals in the same order at the same time. For instance, brushing teeth can start at 6:45pm every night. That’s always followed by taking a bath and changing into pajamas. After that, it’s reading four books in his bed, and so forth.
Whichever activities you decide to do, stick to the same order, and start at the same time every night. He might get so used to the routine that he takes the initiative and does them on his own (all without nagging). And with consistent sleep and wake up times, he can be better rested and ready for the next day.
Your 5 year old can still benefit from having a daily schedule. It’s not always about rigid routines or packing your day, but having predictability and consistent activities.
What should you include in a daily schedule for a 5 year old? As ironic as it may be, carving time for independent play allows him to tinker on his own. Physical play, from dance parties to throwing a ball in the yard, makes sure he gets his energy out and stays healthy.
Include sensory play, especially if he likes to explore with his hands. Your local library probably has a fun lineup of activities, from crafts to story time, that you can attend frequently. Introduce chores early on, and make sure to make them fun and helpful.
Do a few learning activities, whether it’s practicing the alphabet or creating art with play dough. Squeezing in errands is possible, especially if you keep them short and fun. Enforce rules with screen time so that it doesn’t take over the day but still allows them entertainment. And lastly, cap the day with a consistent bedtime routine.
Even five years later, a daily schedule still comes in handy!
Get more tips:
- What to Do When Your 5 Year Old Won’t Stay in Bed
- How to Respond to Your 5 Year Old Starting to Poop in Pants
- How to Create an After School Schedule at Home
- Want to Be an Organized Mom? 3 Tips That Can Help!
- 5 Effective Techniques to Help Kids with Transitions
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