Vintage Schedules For Preschoolers (What a REAL 1940s Expert Recommended)

A REAL Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers

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I use vintage schedules with my kids. 

I have read:

  • Gary Ezzo’s Babywise series
  • Gina Ford’s books
  • the Supernanny Jo Frost’s books

And I can tell you that the advice they give is just vintage mid-century parenting advice, repackaged for a new audience!

Vintage Schedules For Preschoolers

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Vintage Schedules for Preschoolers

I use a lot of old-fashioned parenting techniques, and one of those is a schedule

Why old-fashioned parenting? Because by the time my children are in high school, they are largely independent and responsible, and can:

  • Cook an entire meal and do the dishes afterward
  • Take care of babies and young children
  • Clean and organize anything in the house
  • Takes responsibility for all schoolwork and grades
  • Start an online business.

This is the vintage schedule for preschoolers that I use with my children until they start school. I use the half-day kindergarten schedule once they start kindergarten.

Vintage Resources For Raising Preschoolers

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My favorite vintage parenting book is Better Homes and Gardens Baby Book

It has sections for children from birth to two years, and two to six years, all of which include age-appropriate schedules. (It also has a before-baby section, which I love!) The vintage schedule for preschoolers also includes menus and lists of playthings at different ages for your little rascal. (Modern alternatives include this reprint.)

The goal of this parenting book is to give parents tools to raise their children to be self-reliant, independent, and responsible for their own needs. Everything is aimed at creating the kind of child who grew up to fight and win WWII. 

It predates Dr. Benjamin Spock, and although it teaches authoritative, rather than authoritarian parenting, it is less concerned with feelings than with ensuring the child grows up to be a responsible citizen. 

My favorite modern resources are all about old-fashioned parent-led parenting, including schedules, obedience, and long-term goals (aka, anything by John Rosemond!)

Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers: Vintage children having a party!

Vintage Schedule for a Child 2 Years Old

A vintage schedule for preschoolers is about teaching orderliness, appropriate behavior, and consistent routine — the text comes straight from the Beter Homes and Gardens Baby Book.

Morning Routine

  • 7:00 a.m. Rises, goes to toilet. Fish-liver oil. Juice.
    • Breakfast:
      • Fruit
      • Cooked cereal with whole milk
      • Milk
      • If this is eaten, toast and bacon may be added, if desired. Milk toast, banana, or prepared cereal may be substituted for the cooked cereal occasionally.
    • Dresses for day.
    • Brushes teeth, combs hair.
    • Plays outdoors, if weather permits. In cold weather, an hour will be enough.
  • 9:00 a.m. Brought in to toilet (continue doing this throughout the day at intervals you’ve found best suited to his needs).

Afternoon Routine

  • 12:00 N.Lunch:
    • Vegetable soup or green vegetable
    • Meat
    • Potato, macaroni, rice, or tenderoni (?)
    • Simple dessert
    • Milk
  • 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (not later than 3:00 p.m.). Nap or rest in room alone with door closed.
  • 3:00 p.m. (on arising from nap or rest). Graham crackers. (Cup of milk, also, if child is underweight.)

Evening Routine

  • 5:30 p.m.Supper:
    • Creamed vegetable
    • Poached or soft-boiled egg
    • Fruit
    • Milk. (Omit milk at night in your child wets the bed.)
  • 6:30 p.m. Bath, story hour.
  • 7:00 p.m. Bed

About the Routine

The open times in the schedule are meant for periods of play.

This could be unsupervised play or time for the child to spend with you, observing you and your work. The child is not given free range of the house. Indeed, the book counsels you to teach him to respect others’ things and to expect him to clean up his messes.

The schedule calls for outdoor play for at least an hour a day, even in cold or wet weather. As the Norwegians say, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing.” 

It also recommends that your start cultivating a love of books and music in your child during these years, and it provides recommendations for discipline and teaching good habits as well.

This schedule is followed from 2 years until the child enters kindergarten — changes are made in the types of toys and activities available, rather than the routine.

Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers: In kindergarten, we have show and tell.

Image Sources: Going to Kindergarten by Clara Cassidy, 1965.

Vintage Schedule for Child 5-6 Years Old (Going to Morning Kindergarten)

This schedule represents a small shift from the previous one — but it does begin an easy transition to the more independent and self-reliant schedules of the school-age child.

Morning Routine

  • 7:00 a.m. Rises, goes to toilet. Washes face and hands. Dresses for school. Has fish-liver oil, followed by citrus or tomato juice.
    • Breakfast:
      • Fruit in season
      • Cooked cereal with whole milk
      • Milk
      • If this is eaten, whole-wheat toast and bacon may be added if desired. Milk toast, banana, or prepared cereal may be substituted for the cooked cereal occasionally.
    • Toilet for bowel movement. Wash face and hands, comb hair, brush teeth.
    • Off to school.

Afternoon Routine

  • 12:00 N. Dinner:
    • Vegetable soup or stew or green vegetable
    • Meat
    • Potato, macaroni, rice, or tenderoni
    • Slice of whole-wheat bread with butter
    • Simple dessert
    • Milk
  • 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Rest or nap in his own room.
  • 3:00 p.m. Arises. Fish-liver oil.
    • Cup of milk and graham cracker
    • Plays outdoors

Evening Routine

  • 5:30 p.m. Comes in from play, washes face and hands, and combs hair for Supper:
    • Creamed vegetable or vegetable soup
    • Poached or soft-boiled egg
    • Whole-wheat toast, or whole-wheat sandwich with fruit or vegetable filling
    • Milk
    • (Cottage cheese may be given often)
  • 6:30 p.m. Bathes, gets ready for bed.
    • Story hour
  • 7:30 p.m. Bed.

About The Routine

The book also notes:

“If your child goes to kindergarten in the afternoon, he’ll play in the morning. Have him come in at 11 or 11:15 and lie down for 20 minutes or so. Then have him wash and get dressed for school. He should be ready to eat dinner by 12 o’clock, so that his meal need not be hurried. If the main family meal is at night, the dinner and supper menu given here may be reversed.”

Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers: Mother bakes in the afternoon. We get a cookie after our rest!

Why I Love To see Vintage Schedules For Preschoolers

When I read this schedule, I wished I had a kindergarten to send my children to! 

Alas, all of the schools around here are less-than-acceptable options, so all of my children are at home. (Yes, I am seriously considering starting a private, 1930s-style school in my area.) I love the way the schedule dovetails with the child’s increasing independence, and paves the way for a schoolchild to play outside after school until dinnertime.

Vintage Schedules and Vintage Clothes

I like the idea that a child has “school clothes” and “playclothes.” 

I actually do this with my children. It works out rather like a capsule wardrobe system, but it also teaches them how to look nice in public as a bonus. 

I also love that the vintage schedule for preschoolers (and the ones for toddlers and babies, too!) make it clear that even when you are eating with Mother in the kitchen, you make yourself look NICE before you sit down at the table. I think it shows respect to the cook (usually me!) to look like you care about what you are eating. That means looking nice, and using nice manners!

Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers: Father coming home in the evening. Right on time!

I really love using vintage schedules. 

They are so precise about the goals and the actions you take to get there. It’s a lot of fun! And yes, I also use the menus, toy lists, and wardrobe recommendations from my vintage books, as well.

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A REAL Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers

Resources

Better Homes and Gardens Baby Book, Gladys Denny Schultz, 1943

Thank you for sharing us with your friends!

2 thoughts on “Vintage Schedules For Preschoolers (What a REAL 1940s Expert Recommended)”

  1. I am a grandmother now – no little ones at home. I love this simple schedule. How we’ve strayed from this lifestyle.

    1. We certainly have! And it still works just as well — I use it with my own preschoolers. Even kindergarten works better when you use a simpler, old-fashioned model!

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