What Do We Do Now? The Importance of Structuring and Scheduling Your Day

March 18, 2020

The changing landscape and disruption to our normal schedule can add a lot of stress on families. "Children of all ages who attend daily school are accustomed to and thrive on a daily schedule," shares Lindsay Bistis, Director of CP Kids Early Learning Center at Chelsea Piers. Creating a schedule at home that follows along with a child's normal school schedule and that also works for your family can go a long way to easing the uncertainty this change may bring for your kids and keeping the day on task.

For younger children, Bistis recommends presenting the schedule to your child with visuals included. For the younger ones, who may not have the structure of assigned learning from their schools, Bistis shared a sample schedule used at CP Kids below:

Sample schedule used at CP Kids

"This type of schedule can allow you to move the activities around and add and take away activities each day as necessary. A few of these require some explanation, so here you go!" Bistis continues:


Center Time is when a limited number of activities and options are taken out and the children can choose where there would like to play.

  • This limits the number of toys taken out at once and it helps your child focus on one thing at a time and hopefully stay engaged in the activity longer.
  • Consider setting a timer so that your child stays at whichever activity he or she chose for a certain amount of time (this is dependent on their age: 2 year olds may not be able to stay with something longer than 10 minutes, but a 4 year old can sustain an activity for twice that amount of time.)
  • You can rotate the centers throughout the day or over the course of a few days. You can put EVERYTHING else away and tell them it is closed during Center Time and they need to stay at their center until the timer goes off. The children at CP Kids are very accustomed to this practice and lingo, so they will understand what to do.

Table Top Time

Table Top Time are activities that are restricted to the table and your child must sit and participate in them.

  • This can be things such as coloring, playdough (LINK TO PLAYDOUGH ARTICLE), puzzles, small manipulative toys (pegs, lacing activities, sorting activities, etc.) and cutting and pasting projects.

Music & Movement

I recommend the GoNoodle app to get kids moving and singing! They have tons of fun songs for kids to sing and dance along with. You can also find some great kids yoga and kids Zumba videos to guide you on YouTube.

Circle Time:

Your children will LOVE it if you re-create circle time and they will likely take the lead and start telling you how circle time goes. During circle time you can sing songs, do a weather report, look at a calendar, read stories, and do some shape, color, number, and letter identification (depending on your child's age).

Outside Time

It is recommended that children receive 60 minutes of unstructured, gross motor time each day. I would aim to get this done outside, weather permitting. Reminder to follow all CDC and local health guidelines regarding social distancing.