Consider approaching the weeks as a teacher might, by creating a workable, streamlined schedule that everyone can follow.
One of the reasons that young children seem so comfortable at preschool is because they know exactly what is happening when. Their classroom routines become automatic, especially when they can see them. Clear expectations about the flow of the day are established at the start of the year. Children come to rely on these expectations and find comfort in the familiar rhythm of their days. In this way, children can anticipate transitions and look forward to their favorite times of day.
Young children are extremely visual. They can read and interpret pictures and symbols long before they begin to read words. As parents, you can use this developmental strength to help your children at home, just as teachers do throughout the classroom.
To create a picture schedule at home, start by examining your daily routine. Give it some careful thought and come up with a daily structure that works for your family during this time. Your daily plan might include: Play time (free choice), dedicated clean up times, quiet rest, meals/snacks, limited screen time, indoor/outdoor movement, and supervised activities such as cooking, art, science and water play. Each day of the week, M-F, should be a little different, varying project types and screen days. You can also decide how often and when you want to include music and/or movement activities.
It is important to remember that you are actually creating an ordered routine, not a precise schedule with exact times. Over a relatively short time, your children will begin to internalize the general outline of the day's flow. Their new rhythm will become familiar with practice, and you can stop improvising.
Here is a possible routine:
Outside or Music/Movement Activity
Limited Screen Time
When planning this schedule, I kept these ideas in mind:
1) The day starts together after breakfast. This will give children some reassuring attention right at the start of the day.
2) Active movement early in the day can help children to release energy and feel more focused, to breathe some fresh air, and to exert physical effort in a healthy and necessary way.
3) Playtime, Quiet Time and Screen Time are meant to be independent, so that everyone, has some time to themselves - including parents. Try streamlining as much as possible, coordinating your own work with your children's independent times.
4) Alternate active/quiet times of the day, and independent/supervised play.
5) Simple rituals, lighting and music will help with transitions.
6) It's important to go outside every day - rain, snow or shine. Explore nature, experience the elements, breathe, and move in an unconfined space.
7) Decide how often you would like to include music and/or movement. These activities can be supplemented by online programming or streamed music.
Making a Schedule Board for Your Home
Once you have decided on a daily rhythm that works for your child(ren), create an eye-level visual schedule to refer to each day.
1) Write out a list of every part of the day. This might include the following activities: Art, Cooking, Exploration, Science, Water Play, Choice Time (2x), Outdoors (2x), Rest Time, Screen Time, Story Time, Movement, Music, Clean Up (2x), Snack, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and/or Jobs. Add an additional "Something Different" picture to give yourself the option for a surprise. Write or print the list in approximately 24 bold pt. type (This is especially useful for children who are becoming interested in reading and making connections between pictures and words), and cut out each activity label. For Example:
2) Create pictures to represent each part of the day. Take a quick photo of your child doing the described activity, or use clip art or your own drawings. Invite your children to participate by coming up with and creating their own images. They can even take photos themselves. Glue activity labels and images onto 4 x 6 index cards (or 5 x 7 for two year olds), or computer paper cut into quarters or halves.