Scheduling the day in time blocks

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  • JennNC

    Hi again, I have been perusing the site this morning and it is so helpful. My question now is about what to do with my preschoolers during the family block that is suggested under the scheduling section of the site. I have been considering organizing our school day with our group activities first but I am not sure what I should expect of my 1.5yo and my 3.5yo. They are currently pretty disruptive when I try to do something like this. We are in ancient history right now and so obviously they are not too interested in that. I tried bringing in small toys for them to play with… that works for a bit but not the whole hour. Am I hoping for too much to think they could be trained to play quietly at my side while I do the history/Bible/memorization etc. with all the olders? Any ideas? Thanks 🙂

    I am also doing time blocks–an hour might be a bit long for your littles. I have a 3 yods and a 15 month old ds, close to your little ones’ ages! Right now I have our together Bible time and memorization–trying to do it in half an hour, but it sometimes takes 40 minutes. They have some things to color and play with during that time. We start off singing, so they have some “wiggle” room then, too! Then I let all my younger set play in another room while I have a Godly womanhood study with my 4 oldest dds (21-14). The younger set are 10, 8, 6, 3 and 1, so the 10 yodd is a help making sure they’re safe! Then we come back together again after 20-30 minutes for our next read aloud time. Gives the littler ones some time to be more active vs. sitting for an hour. Maybe you could do a short “recess” between Bible and history? A short snacktime? Just something to give them some “wiggle time”. Whenever I’ve tried to do a full hour at a time, I usually lost the littlest ones’ attention before then.

    Also, having toys/books that are *only* for school time has worked in the past for some of my little ones! But again, that can only hold them for so long! During our Bible time, like I said, for singing we give them some wiggling space! But when I start reading, someone holds the baby (and yes, some days Bible time takes longer because he just doesn’t want to be still!!!)

    There’s always nap time to do the history…but if you’re like me, you’re ready for a nap then, too! 🙂

    One other suggestion–could you break the history up into shorter readings? Or readings one day, hands on work the next?

    Hopefully you’ll get more advice and ideas to try!




    Laptime is a wonderful tool to use during Bible reading. It takes some time to train, but a little one can be trained to sit on a lap for as long as you deem necessary. I’ve seen children consistently sit for over an hour at church on a parent’s lap. We’ve averaged about 30 minutes for most of our guys and then my lap is ready for a rest! It also is never too early to teach the children that Bible reading is a solemn time of reverence.

    Here is a hodgepodge of things that we’ve done over the years. After their laptime, I may give them a break with an older one for about 10 minutes, but never in response to whining. I also try to sprinkle some things in that are aimed at the littles. For instance, during Bible reading, I read a page out of Leading Little Ones to God or some other book, which they know is especially for them. Coloring pages for the Bible story are good. A snack in the middle helps. We’ve used carpet mats before (which is just a substitute for laptime). The one thing that I notice is that I cannot, CANNOT let them roam during this time. That is when the littlest starts talking and singing and suddenly I notice I’m shouting to be heard. Or I hear a shriek from another room because some disaster has occurred. Doing our family work at the kitchen table is helpful, too, because then I can get out something special like playdough for the littler ones. Sink play lasts eons, though it can be disruptive sometimes (“You must NOT spray the whole kitchen!”).

    Lastly, pray. It is challenging and we moms need to be prepared. Being ready for them versus running after them has been key for me. As your children become aware that there is a special order to things, they will fall into line (now I sound like a drill sargeant!), and actually welcome it. It just takes resolve, time, and a good sense of humor.




    I teach mine early on about lap or blanket time. This way they learn to sit during the time and either listen and enjoy or play quietly. My youngest right now is 21 months. She can sit for about an hour. But we also have very long church services so she is used to it. She is not perfect but she knows she has to obey Mommie and if she doesn’t then she does get disciplined.


    This is exactly what I needed to hear. I have a 7 yr old, 5 yr old, a 4yr old and a 21 month old and while I am working with the two oldest my two youngers are in roomtime for 40 min. but after that they just roam. I needed to be convicted about training them to sit with us and participate in a quiet activity. Thanks for all the good ideas and encouragement. Thanks.


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