Average Daily Routine for a 3 Year Old

Updated on November 08, 2009
R.H. asks from Seattle, WA
8 answers

I am wondering if other moms could share their daily routines with their kid(s). My 3 year old is in preschool 3 days a week, but I often wonder if my husband and I are "doing a good job" with his routines. I know he gets a little too much tv and sometimes not enough stimulation. Just wanting to get a general sense of what other people do with their kids.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

This is a great question and I'm excited to hear what other Mom's have to say. I have twins that just turned 3 and I am ALWAYS worrying that I'm not doing enough for them during the days.
A good friend once told me that kids at this age should be all about "play". We kind of get told by society that they should be learning and stimulated and structured all the time, but in reality what is best for them right now is to play, play and play.
That being said, here is a quick run down of our day with 3 year old twins and 1 year old boy.
Wake-up: They all wake up at different times. We let them watch Noggin until all the rest of the house is up and going. Probably not the best, but it works for us and they are happy.
Playtime (while I clean up)
Get dressed, brush teeth, Mommy showers, etc.
Play a little more
Baby goes down for a nap; Some kind of art project or focused game, puzzle, books, etc.
Playtime while I clean up lunch
Help Mommy with a project - could be cleaning something in the house, working on a craft, running an errand or whatever is on the agenda that day.
Baby down for second nap; Quiet time for twins (which right now is a movie because we've been phasing out the nap and it's the only thing that keeps them in a quiet mode for an extended period of time. we'll phase it out as they get older)
Snack time
Outside play or if it's raining then another type of focused playtime project: puzzles, books, games
Dinner time
Family time playing together with Daddy and Mommy
Wind down for bed!
Ni Ni!

PHEW. So you can see it's not always about structured play at our house. Kids need to be free to build their imagination and creativity and independence with playtime. Hope that helps! Good luck!

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answers from Seattle on

What a wonderful family you've created. I'm a retired (special ed) preschool teacher - and you can spend hours of play with no props except newspaper, rags, and your own silly imagination. I was and am blessed to be the primary careprovider for my now 10 year old grandson and my now 4 year old grandaughter. So- I try every day to build in either some physical play ( like catch--- you can crumble up newspapers into a ball and throw 'em - you have to use a lot of muscle to throw and nothing will break) -or cleaning- kids still think it's fun to get a sponge or rag wet and scrub the floor or the bathroom or -- now- cleaning WITH you--- but they love it. OR - an episode of play with other children-- even the McDonalds' play place is good in wintry weather -- Some gymnastic schools have drop in play times ( there is one in Lake City that does) -. Then- there is also time that should be completely unstructured. The child themselves will showyou as years go by what they love to do. My grandson could spend hours making pretend stores -- pet stores --- rocket stores--- I have '''bought'' all kinds of things from my little entrepenour--. Do restrict tv time ( -- there are good shows - but by and large for small children-- not much is happening in their brain when the tv is on) - Walking- even in the rain - is so great for children- conversation - exersize- it's the perfect antidote for a crumby mood - take a walk.

Blessings dear heart---
J.- aka- Old Mom

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Hi R.-
I have a 3-year-old girl and I'm at home for now. Our routine has always been based on need for sleep...so we try to get back home for a timely nap....doesn't always happen. Here's our routine.
-Wake-up and read books, drink water, and hang out on the couch with a snack.
-We watch Sesame Street while I'm getting breakfast together and eat while watching.
-We try to get outside for some exercise...even in the rain. But in the winter we try to get physical indoors...soccer, JJ Jump, Kids' Club. We usually go to the library weekly (they do crafts there, too!) Or we have a playdate with someone. As she gets older and more imaginative, she really likes to play cooking...indoors and out...mud cookies, etc.
-Make lunch, usually with some help from her....it gets her inside.
-Nap around 1 or 2. More books and "Mama Nana" (breastfeeding). She sleeps a long time and it does give her a later bedtime, but I relish the break.
-Wake-up...more books, snacks with Daddy, while I'm cooking dinner.
-Errands/crafts/playdates/walks while dinner is cooking.
-We often go for a walk after dinner if we didn't go before...more physical exercise.
-Baths if needed/toothbrushing/more books/Mama Nana/bed (we just moved to a toddler bed...working out fine).
Did I mention, we do a lot or reading?! My daughter has a great imagination that is fueled, I'm sure, by all the books we read. So all the in-between times, she is playing in her imaginary world. We are not structured in our week but we are on a daily basis and I know my daughter appreciates it. She knows when she is tired and asks to go home to sleep.
An interesting question to answer. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Hello R.-

When I was a Nanny, I lived by routine, my last family had 3 kids under 5 when I started. Our day ran like this:

Morning chores & getting dressed
Morning errands/school/activity (park)
Nap (WOO HOO!!!)
Afternoon Snack
Play time- Outside if possible or inside craft/playdough/game/friend over
By this time it was the end of day and I was out the door. Mom/ Dad would finish with dinner, bath, story and then bed.

It helped a lot to have things ready for afternoon play time, like playdough made, a game thought of or a playdate scheduled.

R. Magby

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

All families are different in their routines because none of us are the same. As for your routine, what little we know of it doesn't sound too over done. I'll tell you one piece of advice I was given about how to know if your kid is not involved in their lives enough, because of video games or tv watching. I was told by a child psychiatrist that children who are engaged in the world around them will show excitement or surprise when given a gift or are exposed to something new like a new place to play or toy. It was how the head start program my older kids went to judged if kids were getting enough play time or spending too much time in front of a tv.



answers from Seattle on

At our house, we wake up about 7am, and snuggle in bed for a little, while watching a TV show, then I take a shower and get dressed. Then I dress my daughter and we have breakfast.
After breakfast, we usually do puzzles or find it picture games or imaginative play until it is time to do errands.
I do have my daughter in a 1 hour dance class and a 2 hour preschool, each once a week.
I hate being home and like to go alot, so if we have errands and the weather is nice, we stop at a playground for a bit. On rainy days, we do a little outside play or go to the library for storytimes/crafts or sometimes hit McDonalds play area or a bouncy house place to get some physical activity. I think going places is a great learning tool. You can talk about what you are doing, things you see and all that stuff. We go to all kinds of stores just to look.
However, we do spend a lot of time at home too and we try to schedule playdates or we just find a fun activity to do like playdoh or pretend. We build tents and forts too. Read stories, play learning games.
My daughter still naps, so I try to be home by 130pm for that.
After nap, we watch a little TV, while I get dinner ready.
Then we have free play, reading and visiting with daddy.
Bathtime, reading and bedtime.....
Not really scheduled here at all, but we kind of have a routine.
I think as parents we always question if we are doing the right thing, but from reading your parenting style, it sounds like you are involved. Just find fun little things to do together and even if it is 15 mins, it means so much. :-)


answers from Anchorage on

our house is a two income house.

630- kids get up on their own, potty, get dressed for the day.
715 load up car and go to preschool. Lots of fun learning activities there!!
1715- pick up kids and go home. talk about the day in the car on the way.
1800- discuss ideas for supper
1830- poppie arrives from work and is informed of supper ideas.
1845- poppie and kids prepare meal so mama can do homework(2 more years)
1930-family supper at kitchen table. no tv. no phones. everyone talks about their day. (teenager sometimes doesnt like it)
2000-kids get bath time seperately
2100-bedtime. they get a story just before this time, sometimes two

friday nights they get to stay up a little later sometimes fi they hav been good through the week and sometimes on saturday night as well.

during times that we are home, i turn on noggin. my kids have a couple shows that they actually sit and watch but most of the time it is just noise. there is no tv or music in their room and they are just fine with this.

on weekends they get to help out with chores and they have to pick up their room every night before bed.


answers from Medford on

0700 morning care getting dressed independent as he is happy to try. can take awhile.
0730 help with and eat breakfast including deciding when given a choice what to eat and drink and helping clean up
0800 dance/ music
0830 drink/and read some books
0900 help with some chores around the house (have little chores for him that he can count on ie water plants feed fish or other animals.
0930 take a walk outside rain or shine have raincoat rainboots, umbrella and sunglasses so it is fun getting ready and it is alright to step in a puddle, jump in leaves ex. 3 year olds really like to talk about what they are going to do and then talk about it after.
0950 snack and drink and 1/2 hour to an hour of appropriate videos.

1100 free play with toys and imaginary play like playing farm,doctor,cooking or dolls etc. Will most likely want to play with someone.
noon be involved with lunch and eat and help clean up
1300 outing to store , park, library or dollar store or play date. For child and parent this outing is best kept no longer than 2 hours from start to finish.
1500 quit time with painting, practicing cutting with scissors,practice writing name. decorating for current holiday.
1600 free play
1700 help with and have dinner and help clean up
time with family
1800 bath and getting ready for bed
1900 favorite story and sing a few songs they know. this is a good time to talk about what you did today and plans for next day
1930 I always put on the same classical music that has been listened to at bedtime since birth and it is welcomed and a comfort (It is finished in approx. 40 minutes) child does well left alone to relax and listen to music (has small night light) and goes to sleep with favorite stuffy. Very busy day but really fun and no time for boredom.
I just wanted to add that you both sound like wonderful parents and could give some great advice too.

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