A REAL Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers

A Real Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers

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I thought that I would do a series on schedules for kids. Personally, I use vintage schedules with my kids. I have read the Babywise series, Gina Ford, and Tracy Hogg, but all of the advice they give is just vintage mid-century parenting advice, repackaged for a new audience! This is the vintage schedule for preschoolers that I am using for my youngest children. (I currently have three children under 6.) I have one child following the schedule for attending half-day kindergarten, as well.

Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers: Old-Fashioned Parenting means plenty of play outside.

Image Source: The Ginn Basic Readers: Fun With Tom and Betty
by Russell, David Harris, 1906-1965

Old-Fashioned Parenting & Vintage Schedules for Preschoolers

I am a big believer in old-fashioned parenting, and part of that is schedules. Using my vintage schedules, by the time my children are in high school, they are largely independent and responsible. My 14-year-old helps cook and do the dishes, can take care of babies from birth to newborn, and can clean anything in the house these days. She is now learning to sew, takes responsibility for all her own schoolwork, and is starting an online business.

My favorite vintage parenting book, Better Homes and Gardens Baby Book 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.

The goal in this parenting book is to give parents tools to raise their children to be self-reliant, independent, and responsible for his 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 good citizen. It is all about parent-led parenting, including schedules, obedience, and long-term goals. I love it!

Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers: Vintage children having a party!

Image Source: The Ginn Basic Readers: Fun With Tom and Betty
by Russell, David Harris, 1906-1965

Schedule for Child 2 Years Old

  • 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).
  • 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.)
  • 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

As you can see, there is plenty of space for play in this schedule. But there is also plenty of time for the child to spend with you, observing you and your work. On this schedule, he is still mostly expected to do independent play, but he 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. TAnd it provides recommendations for discipline and teaching good habits as well.

This vintage schedule for preschoolers is followed until the child enters kindergarten. The only things that changes is the behavior, the expectations, and the lists of toys. So, after all the changes for the baby and toddler schedules, now the routine is more about teaching a consistent schedule.

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

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

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

  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.

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 in at night, the dinner and supper menu given here may be reversed.

Better Homes and Gardens Baby Book, 1948, p. 165
Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers: Mother bakes in the afternoon. We get a cookie after our rest!

Image Source: The Ginn Basic Readers: Fun With Tom and Betty
by Russell, David Harris, 1906-1965

When I read this schedule, I wished I had a kindergarten to send my 5 year old to! They make it sound so fun! 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.

I also like the idea that a child has “school clothes” and “playclothes.” I actually do this with my children, also. 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! 

Image Source: The Ginn Basic Readers: Fun With Tom and Betty
by Russell, David Harris, 1906-1965

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. Next, I will post a schedule for school-age children, and I might even be able to find my recommendations for teenage schedules, too! Let me know what else you would like to see!

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A REAL Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers

2 thoughts on “A Real Vintage Schedule for Preschoolers”

  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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