Helping families create a solid connection between Montessori learning in the classroom and at home.

How to Establish a Daily Routine

In the Montessori classroom, the flow of the day is dictated by the daily routine for each age group. This routine provides a predictable and consistent pattern of activities throughout the day, including: learning time, meal times, rest time, and outdoor play. However, the most important aspect of the daily routine is that it provides children with the time and space to meet their needs and explore their interests.

In the home environment, a similar structure can be established; however, it is important to remember that home and a structured learning environment are diversely different. As such, don’t expect that your child will fall into routine overnight, or that every day is going to go to plan. The most important things to remember are to follow your child, establish a routine that works for your family, and to prepare a work space where your child can let their interests take the lead.

Tips for Establishing a Home Routine:

  • Set realistic expectations and take each day as it comes
  • Observe the general patterns and routines of everyone in your household throughout the day and use that as a base
  • Don’t expect a routine to fall into place overnight 
  • When it comes to learning, take advice from Maria Montessori, and “follow the child”
  • Set consistent times for: waking up, meals, rest or quiet time, outdoor play, family time, bath and bed
  • Set up dedicated work spaces for everyone in the house
  • Set up a clearly defined space for resting and quiet time
  • Break your day into chunks of dedicated work time, family time, and mingled work and family time
  • Set up your own dedicated work space and create a ‘yes space’ for your child to work alongside you with a rug and a container of age appropriate activities
  • If you are working from home with an infant, work on the floor with them, and rotate treasure baskets of activities
  • Set up a Montessori work space with trays or containers of activities on a coffee table, shelf, or whatever you have by following the resource guides for infants, toddlers and preschoolers so that your child can follow their interests
  • Embrace the opportunity to have your child engage in family work such as meal preparation, folding laundry, dusting, making beds, feeding pets, and gardening  
  • Look for ways to encourage independence and practical life skills in everyday tasks 
  • Set up accessible areas around your home i.e. accessible self-care baskets with a toothbrush and toothpaste, a step stool, and an accessible snack and drink table
  • Use cooking as a mathematics lesson for older children by having them assist with measuring quantities
  • Make time to read with your child every day
  • Create a routine that works for your family

Sample Daily Routine for Toddlers & Preschoolers

6am – 9am

Morning Routine

Children:

  • Wake & Breakfast: Incorporate practical life activities by allowing toddlers and preschoolers to pour their own milk and cereal, feed themselves, pack away and clean up.
  • Get Dressed: Encourage independence by providing toddlers and preschoolers with the opportunity to choose their clothes (present restricted choice), dress themselves, and brush their hair and teeth. Toddlers may need a little assistance. Set up accessible spaces such as a basket on the vanity filled with a hair brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, and hand soap, and make a step stool available.
  • Make Bed: Engage your child in family work by having them pack away their pyjamas under their pillow, straighten their blankets, and make their bed. Toddlers may need some assistance.  
  • Independent Play: Invite your child to play independently.

Adults:

  • Check emails 
  • Have a nutritious breakfast 
  • Prioritise tasks for the day 
  • Get ready and complete general housework 

9am – 12pm

Work Cycle One

Children:

  • Learning Time: Invite your child to begin their ‘work.’ Make a selection of age-appropriate activities available in an organised space. For ideas take a look at our resources for infants, toddlers and preschoolers
  • Get Outdoors: Make time to take your child outdoors for at least half an hour. This could be playing in the backyard or going for a leaf scavenger hunt as you walk around the block.
  • Make a Snack: Incorporate practical life skills by encouraging your child to chop their own fruit and pour a drink of water or milk.
  • Interest Time: Start or continue a project based on your child’s interests i.e. butterflies. On one day you might do a craft project and another day you might look up the life cycle of the butterfly. Use resources at home to extend on their learning.
  • Reading: Have your child choose a book and read with them. 

Adults:

  • Be present and give instructions when needed
  • Give your child your full attention for periods of time
  • Action what you can in short bursts while your child is working independently 

12 – 3pm

Rest & Quiet Time

Children:

  • Lunch: Incorporate practical life activities by having your child assist with meal preparation such as making a sandwich and pouring them own drink.
  • Clean Up: Have your child pack away at the end of the meal. They can also assist with washing up or stacking the dishwashing while supervised.
  • Rest Time: Begin your child’s wind down routine. You may choose to put on quiet music, read a book, have your child grab their ‘rest time’ blanket, and have them rest in their beds. It’s important that they rest in the same place as consistently as possible to establish a routine. When your child wakes ensure that they pack away their blanket.
  • Quiet Time: If your child isn’t tired or doesn’t nap, set up some quiet time activities such as colouring, craft, reading, listening to an audiobook, doing a virtual zoo tour or screen time (if applicable). 

Adults:

  • Make time for a nutritious meal 
  • Complete time-intensive work during your child’s rest time
  • Complete calls and action emails

3 – 6pm

Work Cycle Two

Children:

  • Get Outdoors: Take your child outdoors for at least half an hour. This could be playing in the backyard or going for a walk.
  • Open-Ended Learning Time: Encourage your child to take the lead and choose what they would like to work on. They may want to do practical life activities, explore the outdoors, complete a puzzle, colour, do a work-sheet, engage in sensory play, or play dress up.
  • Make a Snack: Incorporate practical life activities by having your child assist with preparing their own snack and drink.
  • Stay Connected: Get on a video call with loved ones so that your child has the opportunity to practice their social skills and connect with friends and family.
  • Family Work: Have your child assist with family work around the house. Assign them age-appropriate jobs to assist with meal preparation, folding and putting away laundry, cleaning, feeding pets, and watering the garden.

Adults:

  • Be present and give instructions when needed
  • Give your child your full attention for periods of time
  • Action what you can in short bursts while your child is working independently 

6pm – 9pm

Family Time 

Children:

  • Meal Preparation: Invite your child to assist with meal preparation such as chopping vegetables, peeling carrots, and measuring the cups of pasta while supervised. Have older children assist by setting the table.
  • Dinner Time: Enjoy dinner together without any media or distractions.
  • Pack Away: Have older children assist with packing away their dishes and cleaning up i.e. sweeping up using a dustpan and broom.
  • Bath Time: Encourage independence by providing your child with the opportunity to get undressed and clean themselves with soap. Some children will need a little assistance and should always be supervised during bath time.
  • Bedtime Routine: Have your child wind down by reading them a story, having quiet time together as a family, and preparing for bed. Encourage your child’s independence by providing them with opportunities to brush their teeth and put their pyjamas on themselves. Ensure that bed times are consistent throughout the week.

Adults:

  • Be present and enjoy family time 
  • Eat a nutritious meal
  • Complete regular housework
  • Plan for tomorrow

9pm – 12pm

Free Time 

Children: 

  • Asleep 

Adults: 

  • Uninterrupted work time 
  • Self-care
  • Time to connect with loved ones 
  • Wind down routine 
  • Rest
Infant Resources
Toddler Resources
Preschool Resources

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