Routines for Kids that are Pure Magic

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Last Updated on March 5, 2023 by Erin

Magical weekly routine for kids, kids doing the dishes by standing on chairs
Photo by Danielle Alvarado on Unsplash

As parents, we all want to create magical memories for our children. While special occasions and vacations can certainly contribute to these memories, the day-to-day routines and activities we engage in with our kids can be just as important. Moms can create weekly routines for kids that include fun and creative activities. These routines can not only help kids develop important skills and interests but can also foster a deeper connection between parent and child.

Sometimes I feel the sting of being a full-time working mom and feeling guilty that I’m not doing enough “fun activities” with my kids during the week. However, a few months ago, my mother-in-law shared that my son told her his favorite thing to do is have family movie nights on Fridays. His face lit up and he went into full detail about all the little routines we do for movie night. That story was all the validation I needed.

Related post: Working Mom Routines that Will Change Your Life

In this post, I’m sharing a few weekly routines that can help create magical memories for my kids AND build important skills at the same time. These are all routines that we use in our own household.

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Magical Weekly Routines for Kids and Working Moms

Movie Night Routine

Almost every Friday night is movie night in our house. It gives us something to look forward to at the end of a long week and brings us all together in the same room for a few hours. An added bonus is that it keeps my kids from asking for movies all week long, because they know we are going to watch one on Friday.

Here is what this routine looks like for us:

  1. eat dinner (sometimes we order pizza, but usually it’s just a typical meal)
  2. get cleaned up and get pajamas on
  3. make three “special” seats in the living room
    • I try to make up silly names for the seats like “pillow palace” which is just a spot on the floor with several big pillows or “cozy couch corner” which is a spot at the end of the couch with a fuzzy blanket
  4. the kids take turns drawing the special seat names out of a bowl…this seems silly but again, it makes the routine magical
  5. we pick a streaming movie we can ALL agree on
  6. dad brings popcorn at movie “halftime”

So, you can see it’s your basic movie night with just a little pizzazz. You might be asking, ok that’s great but what about the skills it’s supposed to develop? I feel like this routine help my kids work on social skills. They might have to handle the disappointment of not getting the special seat they wanted. We also have to work on negotiating which movie we will watch. Negotiating and compromising are HUGE skills for kids.

Fancy Dinner Night Routine

My daughter has gymnastics practice right smack in the middle of our evening on Mondays and Wednesdays. On those nights, we don’t all eat at the same time. It was a bit disappointing to her, so I tried to make Tuesday night dinner extra special.

I don’t cook a fancy meal, because that’s absolutely not something I’m willing to do after a long day at work. Instead, I put whatever I cooked onto serving platters on the table and everyone gets to practice serving themselves. They also practice pouring water from a pitcher to refill their cups.

To make it extra fancy I set out battery-operated candlesticks and sometimes I’ll fold their napkins in a fun way.

They LOVE these nights, and the added bonus is addressing my kids’ life skills and fine motor skills.

Dinner Menu Routine

This routine not only helps my kids feel like they have some control over the things we eat, but it helps me with grocery planning as well. Ultimately, that saves me a ton of time.

Every dinner needs to have a meat, veggie, fruit, and grain. Sounds pretty basic, right? This type of meal planning means:

  • I don’t have to plan for complicated recipes or ingredients I rarely use
  • I don’t have to stress about how much time it will take to cook a meal
  • There’s minimal prep
  • I save a lot of money

My kids get to help choose the different components of the meal. I have a can organizer in the pantry, situated low enough my kids can access it. They pick a can of veggies and a can/jar of fruit. If it’s not a pasta night, another child will get to help pick the type of meat. Salmon, meatloaf, chicken, and smoked sausage are regulars in my house. Another child gets to pick the grain: rice, crescent rolls, or toast.

On nights when I JUST CAN’T EVEN and I’m exhausted, we opt for “charcuterie” night or “breakfast for dinner.” Those nights are extra special and rescue me when I don’t have the energy to cook, or we are low on groceries.

Honestly, any time we let kids help with a meal routine, it gives them a bit of independence and they might be more willing to eat and try new foods!

Car Ride School Bus Count

Every morning it feels like we have a million stops in the car. We drop the dog off at my parents (she’s so spoiled), we drop my daughter off at elementary school, then we head to daycare before I’m off to work. One silly little routine we have developed is counting how many school buses we see on our ride to and from daycare. It’s not a competition, but every day we see if we can work together to count more buses than the day before.

Not only does it work on counting, but it also helps me boys engage in a cooperative activity. They tend to be pretty competitive with each other, so this is at least one spot in the day where they are working together. My three-year-old gets so excited when he spots a yellow bus!

You could adapt this to be any type or color of vehicle.

Dance Party Routines for Kids

My husband and I were so tired of listening to the same Cocomelon and Kidz Bop songs on repeat. We decided to introduce our kids to great musical artists throughout the decades.

Each of us wrote down different singers on little pieces of paper and stuck them in a jar. After dinner, the kids pull out a piece of paper and that is the music we dance to that night. My youngest loves telling “Alexa” what to start playing. We attempt to dance while cleaning up the kitchen. We have dance parties to everything from Elton John to Backstreet Boys to Tchaikovsky.

I would love to invest in a disco ball to bring out during these parties. It would make cleaning that much more fun!

You could do a dance party routine any time it works for you: before you head out the door in the morning, after a bath, cleaning the play room, etc.

Quick Game Routines for Kids

A few nights a week, when we aren’t too exhausted, we try to play a quick game. The game has two criteria: 1) it’s quick and 2) all 5 of us can play. My kids are ages 3-7. I have found a few games that fit the bill and are a great way to end the night on a good note. We play it upstairs in front of their rooms so it’s an easier transition from the game to the bathroom to brush teeth and then go to bed.

  • Snap
  • Eye Found It
  • Spot It
  • Build a Robot
  • UNO
  • Memory

Make the Mundane More Memorable

The routines I’ve shared don’t spending money or finding a bunch of extra supplies but they DO take the ordinary to extraordinary. Creating a sense of excitement and wonder in children’s everyday routines can help to foster a love of learning and an appreciation for the small things in life.

Here are a few other ideas you can try out:

  • listen to a different 2-minute song every time you brush your teeth
  • make a up a silly song to go along with a routine
    • example- in our house we sing “shoes in the basket, stinky socks on the stairs” when we come in from the garage. My boys hate having anything on their feet in the house and they immediately want to throw their shoes and socks all over the place. When we sing our silly song, they follow the routine flawlessly. Shoes in the mudroom basket, socks on the stairs to take to the laundry room.
  • eat your normal lunch, but take it outside on a blanket for a picnic
  • see who can pick up the most toys during clean up time
  • have each day be a different color theme, and try dressing to match the the color of the day
  • have different dinner themes, like Taco Tuesday or No Meat Monday
  • during your morning car rides, make up stories about adventures the kids will go on that day, like defeating a dragon or finding a unicorn
  • throw some glow sticks in the bathtub and turn out the lights

It doesn’t take much to add some extra flair to your everyday routines, but it can make a big difference in a child’s life and create some amazing memories to look back on. All moms can do this, from the stay-at-home mom who would love a little change that breaks up the day to the working mom who wants to make more memories with her little ones.

What do you think, mamas? Anything you’d add to the list? What special routines for kids do you have during your week?


Magical Weekly Routines for Kids and Busy Moms

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