The Best Daycare Schedules for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

it’s important to establish a regular routine for babies and young children whether they’re at home or in a daycare setting. A regular schedule puts young children at ease and enables productive learning. A consistent schedule is also important for employees. The following shows detailed schedules for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Baby Schedule

Babies are normally considered newborn to 18 months old. It’s important to note that babies often need to take naps and eat at individual times throughout the day. The following is a general schedule and adjustments will occur throughout the day to meet the needs of each child.

7 to 8 am – This is check-in for parents.

8 to 9 am – Many parents are still checking in. Feeding and diaper changing will occur during this time.

9 to 9:30 am – This would be the official start of the day and involve coming together for circle time. Circle time would include songs, stories and puppets.

9:30 to 10 am – This is time for sensory activities. According to Red Tricycle there are a variety of activities that can stimulate a baby’s senses and promote learning. A few items to use include jello, blocks, bubbles, Velcro and sponges.

10 to 10:30 am – Employees will serve mid-morning snacks and bottles.

10:30 to 12 pm – This will include nap time and individual play time for babies that don’t take morning naps.

12 to 12:30 pm – Lunch

12:30 to 1 pm – After lunch babies will come together for group time. This would include songs and story time. Sensory stimulation is also part of the activities. This may include songs, bright colors and interesting objects to touch and hold.

1 to 1:30 pm – Babies will go outside for stroller time and outdoor activities if the weather allows. Indoor activities might include swinging or floor play with blocks and other toys.

1:30 to 2 pm – Babies will engage in a variety of music and art activities. Kindermusik states that musical activities, even at a very young age, can help children develop listening skills, fine motor skills and social development.

2 to 4 pm – This is nap time.

3 to 4 pm – For babies that are awake, this time would include sensory activities and individual play time.

4 to 5 pm – This time includes feeding, changing and preparing for check out.


Toddler Schedule

Toddlers are children between the ages of 18 months and 3 years.

7 to 8 am – This is check in time for parents. Children eat breakfast and use the restroom at this time. Diaper changing will occur when needed.

8 to 9 am – As check in continues, toddlers that are already checked in will engage in independent play or play with other children at centers.

9 to 9:30 am – Circle time normally starts with a read-aloud and a discussion of what will happen throughout the day. Other activities may include discussing the calendar, singing, learning colors, counting and alphabet games.

9:30 to 10:30 am – During this time children will play and learn at various centers. These could include coloring activities, water and sand centers, books, blocks and a variety of other educational activities.

10:30 to 11 am – This is morning snack time.

11 to 11:30 am – Children will engage in outdoor activities or active indoor play time. As a toddler learns to walk, balance and development of gross motor skills are extremely important. The Inspired Treehouse suggests several gross motor skill activities for indoor or outdoor play. These include creating obstacle courses and jumping and crawling activities.

11:30 to 12 pm – Children will come together for group. This may include stories, learning numbers and letters or working on fine motor skills.

12 to 12:30 pm – Lunch

12:30 to 2 pm – This is nap and quiet time. According to KidsHealth, how much nap time a toddler needs will vary considerably from child to child. Toddlers generally need one nap each day that lasts 1 to 3 hours.

2 to 3 pm – Some toddlers will need a longer nap. Those awake will engage in individual play time and free choice activities.

3 to 3:30 pm – This is afternoon snack time.

3:30 to 4 pm – This is music or arts and crafts time. Children will sing songs or work on various art projects.

4 to 5 pm – Late afternoon is individual play time and free choice of activities. Since parents will pick up their children at a variety of times throughout the late afternoon, it’s important to have several individual activities prepared for toddlers to work on while waiting.


Preschooler Schedule

Preschoolers are generally considered children from age 3 to 5. Since there is usually a wide range of ability in this age group, it’s important to have activities that reflect these differences.

7 to 8 am – This is parent check in time.

8 to 9 am – While check in time continues those who arrive early will engage in free-choice activities These might include playing with toys, looking at books or working at various centers. It’s important for children to start their day working on activities that they choose and feel comfortable doing.

9 to 9:30 am – Circle time includes all children coming together to discuss the day. During this time a story is usually read. Children review the calendar regarding the day, week and month. They may also recite days, weeks and months. This time may also include counting, learning letters or a l
anguage or math lesson.

9:30 to 10:30 am – Children will play and learn at various centers. Centers consist of stations with different activities. These may include puzzles, books, art activities, handwriting practice, sand and water play, working with blocks and manipulatives and listening to music or stories.

10:30 to 11 am – This is bathroom break and snack time. During this time children use the restroom, wash their hands and help prepare and clean up after the morning snack.

11 to 11:30 am – This time will include table top activities that focus on fine motor skills. This may include holding a pencil and writing or working with manipulatives such as blocks or legos.

11:30 to 12 pm – This is story time, restroom and preparation for lunch.

12 to 12:30 pm – Lunch

12:30 to 1:30 pm – Children will use the restroom before taking naps.

1:30 to 2:30 pm – This is group time. During this time teachers will lead brief academic lessons followed by an activity. This might include a science lesson followed by a simple experiment or activity that children will complete at their seats. This time may also include music and craft activities.

2:30 to 3 pm – This time includes outdoor play, if the weather permits, or active indoor play. If playing inside, activities may include hula hoops, hopscotch, obstacle courses and dancing activities. Broom hockey and balloon volleyball are also fun activities children can play indoors.

3 to 3:30 pm – Children will have a snack, use the restroom and then engage in quiet time. This might include looking at books or putting together puzzles.

3:30 to 4:30 pm – This is free choice and individual time. North Shore Pediatric Therapy states that free time is good for children. It can reduce stress and encourage children to develop relationships with their peers.

4:30 to 5 pm – It’s important to have several different types of activities for preschoolers to work on while waiting for pick up. These could include simple art projects, puzzles or books to look at.

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