Smooth Summer Days with Preschoolers

 I had a full day recently with my nearly two year old grandbaby. It was a thrilling reminder of those precious early days of motherhood (hats off to you mamas who are doing life with multiple littles!)
We looked at bugs together, made clay bowls, played ring around the rosy, sang a lot, read stories, played with a toy kitchen, worked in the garden and took a walk.
It was a delightful day, and it reminded me of the importance of responsive parenting in the early years.
We have to keep our schedule open and flexible so that if a small child is hungry or tired, we can respond to those needs, but we also need simple rhythms so that as they move into the toddler and preschool years their day is predictable and peaceful.
I shared steps to creating a summer rhythm in a recent post and  I'll also share a couple tips for smooth summer days with little children here.
  1. Keep outside errands to a minimum. Getting kids in and out of car seats on hot days can be a hassle, so try to keep the schedule predictable with only a few days a week with outside activities.
  2. Meal prep. Having quick and easy meal supplies on hand can give you more time to respond to your children so take time when you have a spouse around for kid duty to wash fruits and vegetables, cut cheese into cubes, prep vegetables for simple salads, or order groceries. The Peaceful Press Cookbook has fun and simple recipes from around the world that coordinates with our curriculum, and having a cart that you can just re-order from Instacart or Walmart can save you from impulse purchase.
  3. Play outside. Taking time in nature is wholesome for the whole family so prep your yard for creative play. Include a piece of wood across a couple blocks for a mud kitchen, a small bucket or bowl for pouring water, containers for pet bugs, small shovels for gardening, or a wooden balance beam made from a length of wood placed on two bricks. Check out our Amazon Summer Playtime list for more ideas.
  4. Listen to your children. As you listen to their play and their questions it will help you know what to learn about in the coming year. Are they engaged with nature, but need more motor skills training? A year with Nourishing Nature might be a perfect fit. Do they love pretending to be pioneers and listening to longer stories? Playful Pioneers with the Kinder level student sheets might be perfect for them.
  5. Minimize screen time. It can feel like we are giving ourselves a break to let our children have some screen time, but they often come off the time feeling agitated. Instead, do your best to include them in your work, or find a friend to trade child care with for the times you need to do work without little helpers.
  6. Play listening games. Training young children to listen well is great preparation for the school years and in our Restoration Home Group (open in June) families are experiencing more peace as they teach their children to listen through games. This post has a few great ideas.
A homeschool kid pointing to his water color painting of an apple tree.
Are you shopping for curriculum? 
Families who finished a year with the Playful PIoneers will love The Kind Kingdom or the Playful PIoneers Volume 2, and if you are a Classical Conversations family, the Precious People will be a great companion for Cycle 1.
For families who have finished Peaceful Preschool, look at Nourishing Nature! It's a wonderful science and social studies resource for kindergarten and young first grade students.

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