If you work with kids, you know that a routine is a must! Setting a schedule helps the kids, the parents, and you. Keep reading for my tried and tested schedule, and the reasons why I’ve found this schedule to be the best.

How to Make a Daycare Schedule that Works [Free Template]

My Daycare Schedule

When I first started daycare, I tweaked my schedule quite a bit.  Now, I’ve figured out what works best for us and I’ve kept it the same for more than a year!

Here’s what my schedule looks like:

How to Make a Daycare Schedule that Works - And a Free Template!

Free Play

Free play is when I get stuff done.  During the morning free play, I pack my daughter’s lunch, check her backpack, feed the baby, drink my coffee, etc.

After the big kids go to school, I prep the preschool lesson for the day.  The free play in the afternoon lets me prep dinner for my family.

During free play, the kids can play with whatever is in my daycare room.  I have all my centers open, like art, books, fine motor, sensory play, dramatic play, block center, etc.

Meal Time

The times on the schedule that are listed at meal times are the times the kids actually eat.  They don’t include prep time, so I prep while they’re busy playing.  If you want to know more about how I do meals at my daycare, check out some of my other posts:

Morning Meeting

When we do our morning meeting, we go start by going over our calendar.  Then we talk about the weather and name our shapes, numbers, and colors from posters on our walls.

We also talk about our letter of the week, read about something that starts with that letter, and practice writing our names and fine motor skills with our Preschool Morning Work (freebie!).

Guided Play and Learning Centers

If you don’t know why guided play is important in preschool, or are wondering why this time frame is longer than our Morning Meeting, read this post.

I usually have activities to go with standards I’ve chosen for the week.  We may paint, use Play-doh, games, fine motor practice, read books or whatever goes with our lesson plan. My dramatic play, blocks, books, and fine motor centers are always open.

Outdoor Play

We are all ready to get outside by 10:30!  And usually the weather is best at this time of day – warm enough but not too hot.  Outdoor play is great for gross motor skills and getting out excess energy.

Plus, putting this time right before lunch helps the kids to get all their wild energy out before I need them to be calm for lunch and nap.  We do come in between 11:30-11:45 though to get cleaned up and prep lunch.

Nap Time

I don’t budge when it comes to nap time.  This is my time to recharge my batteries for the second part of the day!

Read more about how nap time works for me: Why Your Kids Need to Nap & And How to Get Them To Do It

Free Daycare Schedule Template

If you would like to create a pretty schedule like mine to display at your daycare or give to parents, just click the download button below!

It will save automatically to your downloads folder.  The schedule is a PowerPoint document so that you can enter your own times and labels.


Is your schedule similar to mine?  What do you do differently?  Please comment below and let me know your insider tips for setting a schedule!


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