All You Need to Know About Setting Routines with Toddlers
Your sweet newborn is quickly growing into an inquisitive and adventurous toddler, right before your eyes. As they get older, the routine you established (and survived on) throughout infancy will have to change. While you might be inclined to throw your hands up in the air and see where the day takes you, keeping a consistent daily schedule is just as important now that your LO is a toddler as it was when they were itty-bitty.
Why Set a Routine?
Toddlerhood is a period of tremendous change: cognitive development, language acquisition, and physical and emotional growth. (Ever heard of a twonager?) Every day, your kid is learning new things, and their world is constantly getting bigger and bigger. That can be scary! With so much change, a clear routine gives your toddler much needed stability throughout the day. That consistent schedule makes sure your pint-sized boss stays occupied learning and playing – instead of emptying out your makeup drawer again.
Creating a Routine
Consistency is key for your toddler. But consistency doesn’t mean you have to have alarms set throughout the day signaling the end of one activity and the beginning of the next. Break down the day into the essentials and think about what you’ve seen already work for your little one. Do they like to spend time in the morning playing alone or are they tugging on your robe until you color with them? Is their afternoon snack better received before naptime or after they’ve woken up? Figure out the order that works best for you and your kid, create a schedule, and voila! You’ve got a toddler-approved daily routine.
Benefits of Setting a Routine
Can lessen stress and anxiety (for kids and mom!)
Helps develop independent skills
Helps them gain confidence
Prepares them for daycare or school
Gives them an increased sense of stability and security
Sample Toddler Schedule
6:30 am: Wake Up
7:00 am: Breakfast
7:30 am: Brush Teeth, Wash Face, Get Dressed (Morning Routine)
8:00 am: Read + Play
10:30 am: Morning Snack
11:00 am: Arts + Crafts
11:30 am: Storytime
12:00 pm: Lunch Time
12:30 pm: Nap Time
2:30 pm: Afternoon Snack
3:00 pm: Outdoor/Movement Play
5:30 pm: Dinner Time
6:00 pm: Quiet Play Time
7:00 pm: Bath Time, Brush Teeth (Bedtime Routine)
7:30 pm: Storytime, Lullabies
8:00 pm: Bedtime
Remember: Don’t stress about completing every activity right as the clock changes. What’s important is stability, and that your energetic tot gets used to following a system as they go about their day.