Routine with a Preschooler (2.5 years) and Two School Age Kids (5 and 7)

It has been almost exactly a year since I last wrote a routine type post. And boy, things have gotten easier! Last year I spent an incredible amount of time on two different drop-offs. Having the big kids at one school has made a huge and positive difference in my life, but our routine with 3 kids is still very busy. I am particularly happy that they are happy, and all three are enjoying their daytime situations. So with that said, here goes.

Our Morning Routine with 3 Kids

6:15 a.m. This is the average time I wake up. If I am lucky, Little A, is still sleeping, so I have a few minutes to myself before the day begins. Let’s be perfectly honest here- usually I spend these first few minutes looking at my phone.

6:30 a.m. I head into the kitchen to finish up lunches and prepare breakfast. I start with the big kids’ lunches, get them into their bags, then move onto coffee and breakfast. Breakfast is a large affair- eggs, nutmeal bread, greens, and a fruit. 

7:00 a.m. If they aren’t already up, I wake up the big kids (5 and 7 years old)! Time to get dressed and ready for the day. They sit to eat breakfast, then it’s shoes, jackets, and they are off. 

7:30 a.m. Daddy M takes the big boys to school! I start getting Little A breakfast, pack her lunch, then get her and myself dressed. If our morning is running efficiently, I also get a load of laundry washed and hung before we leave.

8:50 a.m. I take Little A walking to preschool.

routine walk to school

9:10 a.m. After drop off I am “free”- to work, grocery shop, run errands, cook, clean, organize, laundry and all that fun stuff. During this time I go, go, go, and try to spend as little time as possible on necessities (like eating lunch). 

Afternoon with 3 Kids

1:00 p.m. I do some prep for dinner. If I’m picking up the big boys from school this is particularly important as by the time we get home, they are starving!

1:50 p.m. I head out to pick up Little A from school. Pick up often takes quite a while as the kids are sleeping and are woken up one by one.

2:30 p.m. If M is picking up the big kids today, I am back home with Little A. Now we spend time together: reading books, doing puzzles, and her generally stuck to me wherever I go. We finish up folding the previous day’s laundry and tidying around the house. If I have to get the older kids, then we head straight from school to the subway (and will spend the rest of the afternoon doing just that- going and coming back). 

3:45 p.m. (If we’re home) We head into the kitchen to start making dinner. This takes an especially long time, since a) I make pretty much everything from scratch (and much of our produce comes from a local farm and requires lots of washing and prep work); and b) I have a two year old helper! If things are going well, I also do some baking or prep veggies for fermentation. 

sauteed greens for dinner

Evening Routine

5:00 p.m. M and the boys get home, just as dinner is on the table. As soon as they remove shoes and coats and wash their hands, they head to the dinner table. The kids are starving and dig in straight away. I get their lunch boxes out of their bags so that they are not forgotten! (Or alternatively, I have about 15 minutes to quickly finish dinner while the boys dawdle putting their things away).

6:00 p.m. Post dinner clean up, I get the food put away while M does the dishes. The kids have a bit of time to play, and then it’s time for bathing. It is essential to have a routine with 3 kids, otherwise we get totally derailed off our schedule now.

7:00 p.m. After bath, pajamas, and brushing teeth, Little A really needs to go to bed. The big boys have some time to read books, either with us or in bed. Ideally lights out by around 7:30, but often it is 8:00 p.m. Our oldest, N, who is 7 years old, will often turn his book light back on to finish his book. 

8:00 p.m. I am happy when I’m done with bedtime by this time (not always the case). I first head into the kitchen and prep at least some of the lunch for the next day, then try to relax on the couch for a bit.

9:30 p.m. My bedtime. I give myself a buffer to read in bed, and with Little A being a very inconsistent sleeper, this way I make sure I have enough hours to be rested to do it all over again the next day. 

What does your day look like in this season of life?

Interested in checking out our routine from a simpler time? Here you go:

with a newborn, in the “fourth trimester”, with an infant, with a bigger baby, with a toddler, with a bigger toddler, with a newborn and a toddler, with a bigger newborn and toddler, with a baby and a toddler, and with a toddler, preschooler and elementary kid.

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