Monday, September 16, 2013

Routine Details PM

Hello there, I'm back with the details of our afternoon routine! Now let me be clear, I do not always get to do everything listed in my morning and afternoon routines everyday. Some days we just don't have the time. We may have a play date that takes up the whole morning or unexpected errands that take up our afternoon. If we don't get to everything, I just make sure we hit the important things the next day.



I'm always on the lookout for new quick, easy, and healthy kids lunch ideas. This is usually the meal that my oldest son chows down so I want to make sure its a good one. I try and make sure they get an opportunity to eat veggies at lunchtime. My kids love avocados, carrots (I cut them up small), bell peppers, and green peas so I try to have one or two of these on hand to cut up and stick on their plates. Our current lunchtime rotation includes hummus and Falafel chips, turkey and cheese, and leftovers from dinnertime. If I happen to have hotdogs in the freezer I'll serve those up too-- my kids love them.

One of my Facebook friends routinely posts pictures of these beautiful Bento lunches or snacks she makes for her kids. The snack is usually shaped like an animal or something aesthetically pleasing. Its on my list of things to look into. I think it could be a great way to get my kids excited to eat their food. Plus I'm all about infusing beauty into every area of life.


This is the "formal education" time of day for us. For some reason that I don't even remember, I used to be kind of against letting young children use the computer. Starfall changed my mind. This website has made it almost effortless for me to introduce some basic knowledge to my children. My three year old has learned his letters, numbers, shapes, and colors largely thanks to this website. They offer their ABC program for free and if you want access to their other content you can pay a fee of $35 a year. I am a paying member but I used the site for about a year before we decided to join. I only joined because my child had a firm handle on his ABC's and I wanted to try some of the more math oriented portions of the site. There may be better ways to educate but this works for us. I can sit down with my two oldest children and go through letters, colors, and numbers without any preparation.

Nap Time

My two big boys take an afternoon nap at the same time. My older son doesn't always take a nap. I usually send him into nap time with some toys, books, or puzzles. I tell him to stay in bed and then I close the door. I don't worry about whether he actually goes to sleep or not. I cannot force him to go to sleep but I can provide an opportunity for him to at least get quiet and rest for a while. He usually comes out of nap time refreshed even if he hasn't actually slept.

PM Snack

Afternoon snack time is tricky. It's close enough to dinner time that if I give them too much food they will not touch a thing on their dinner plates. But the funny thing is, they always want to eat a huge snack at this time. Lately the kids have been loving popcorn. The hubbs took the oldest two out for their first movie theater experience a few weeks back. They saw  Planes, complete with hot, buttery popcorn. We went to the grocery store a few days later, and my oldest son kept asking: "Mom, can we get some popcorn?" I'm a sucker for that kid, so I bought some and we've been eating it ever since.

Sit Time

Sit time helps my boys develop the discipline they need to sit still and be quiet when Mama tells them to. It really comes in handy anytime we're out in public.  It can be used at the doctor's office, big church, or even when you go out to eat. This is not something we do all the time, but I take it in and out of our routine when I feel like my sons need the practice.

A few weeks ago I noticed that my middle child was getting rowdy and loud in church so I brought back sit time. I have them both sit down at our dining room table and give them 2 or 3 books apiece. Then I lay out the rules. "Boys it's time to do sit time. I want you to sit still and read. You are not allowed to talk or get up until the buzzer goes off. If you decide to disobey there will be consequences." I set my timer for 5 minutes (we'll work our way up to 15 minutes over a few weeks time). 


Outside Play Time

We go outside in the backyard and play. Easy Peasy



If there's going to be a meal my kids don't touch this is the one. I don't let it bother me. All I ask is that they try a bite. We leave their plates on the table and if they ask for a snack after dinner we tell them to go back to the table and eat their dinner. I can usually get dinner prepped and cooked during nap time. But if it's one of those days or seasons (pregnancy and early postpartum) when I really need to nap I'll prep at the beginning of nap time and cook while the boys are eating their snack.

Scripture Reading & Catechism

We keep this time pretty brief. The hubbs reads a small passage of the Bible, then does his best to explain it in terms our little ones can understand. He prays and then we review a few catechism questions and my older son's scripture memory verses. Our oldest son is three years old and can quickly memorize just about anything, kids his age have an amazing capacity for memory work.

Family Hangout

We just hangout and have fun together as a family unit. We may go to a local park or playground, hit up Starbucks for coffee, go swimming at our neighborhood pool, watch a movie, run out to Target, or just play around the house.

Bed Time

We usually try to get our boys to bed around 8pm, but it honestly varies. If they're super cranky we opt for 7:30pm but if we're out having fun with friends, or its a special occasion we're fine with them going to bed later.  We've found if they stay up much later than 8pm on a regular basis they breakdown, and it is NOT pretty--the screaming, the crying, the chaos. Mama can't take that.

I have friends who put their kids to bed at 6pm and some who let them stay up till 10pm. It really just depends on your family's routine and how late you want your kiddos to sleep in the morning. On a normal night we just change them into their pajamas, read them a story, give them a kiss and some tickles, maybe sing a song or two, pray and then turn out the lights. My two older boys share a room so they probably stay up talking and laughing for an hour after we put them to bed. I don't let their loud revelry bother me. As long as they stay in their beds, I'm totally down with their after hours bonding sessions. After all, we want them to be close.


Need more ideas for your daily routine? Read Creative Family Times: Practical Activities for Building Character
Want to know what catechism we use? Catechism for Young Children: Original Edition

Hope you enjoyed this series!


  1. Oh my goodness, Anderson LOVES popcorn too! I like your ideas about lunch. We always have hummus because the child can not get enough! Also, we do black beans for lunch a lot of times. It's easy, he loves it plus they have lots of protein! Topped with cheese & a side of fruit I consider it a complete meal ;-) We also love Alexia sweet potato fries at lunch too. Love all of your "mama thoughts". I really struggle with valuing beauty & that's something I would love to work on in practical ways, maybe I'll start with food!

  2. Black beans! I need to add those to our rotation too...