A Before and After School Routine for Young Children


Our four-year-old son Adam started preschool today, and on the advice of a wise friend, we tried to make the most of the ride to and from school. Here’s a simple routine that we will be following every day. If you do something different, I’d love to hear what you’ve found helpful.

Before School

  1. Remind him, “Remember what you believe today,” then ask, “What do you believe?” Say the Apostles’ Creed together.
  2. Ask Questions 13–15 in the Kids’ Catechism: Q. How did God make you? A. In his image. Q. How does this comfort you? A. I matter to God. Since everyone is made in God’s image, how should we treat them? A. With kindness and respect.*
  3. Remind him, “Be especially respectful to your teacher.”
  4. Tell him, “If anyone is mean to you, let mommy and daddy know. Okay?”
  5. Tell him, “If anyone makes you feel unsafe, let us know. Okay?”
  6. Remind him, “You are a Christian. You represent Jesus. Be Jesus to someone today.”
  7. Pray for the school day ahead. Conclude by praying the Lord’s Prayer together.

*Adam knows these by heart, so it only takes a minute. It was his first day, and he was nervous, so we also asked Questions 38–41: Q. Do you need to be scared? A. No. Q. Why don’t you need to be scared? A. God is with me. Q. Can you see God? A. No. Q. Can God see you? A. Yes.

After School

  1. Ask, “How was your day?”
  2. Ask, “What is the most interesting thing that you learned today?”
  3. Ask, “Was anyone unkind to you?”
  4. Ask, “Did anyone make you feel unsafe?”
  5. Read a “Proverb of the Day.” Whenever possible, choose one that relates to his experiences at school.*
  6. Pray about what happened at school, drawing on the daily proverb, or simply thank God for a good day.

*We will probably go over the same proverb for a few days until we have it memorized. For Adam’s first day, we read Proverbs 10:1: “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.” Adam likes to say it with me, so we read it three times (until he was able to say most of the words). Then we prayed, “Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping Adam safe and giving him a good day at school. Help him to be a wise son who makes mommy and daddy happy. Keep him from foolishness so that he doesn’t make mommy and daddy sad. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”

Johnathan Arnold
Johnathan Arnold
Johnathan Arnold is a husband, father, and aspiring pastor-theologian, as well as the founder and president of holyjoys.org. You can connect with him on Twitter @jsarnold7.