The toddler phase is a fantastic stage of childhood, although it could be tiring for the parent. Toddlers are always so busy that they require constant supervision. With early toddlers, you need to work even more. Late toddlers ease your stress a bit as they are a bit more flexible and can play for more extended periods without constant supervision.
Rigid daily routines can be overwhelming for most moms and toddlers. Why is this so? Your toddler is going through a lot of changes. She’s developing social, language, and motor skills. These stages of learning can overwhelm your toddler. However, contrary to what you may think, placing your toddler on a daily schedule isn’t difficult. In fact, your toddler can make the routine easy. Most toddlers usually perform a specific activity at a particular time each day. For instance, she could be irritable or hungry at a specific time every evening. Knowing her cues can help you create a schedule that conforms with her own cues.
What You Should Consider While Creating A Schedule For Your Toddler
- Time for waking up
- Time for napping
- Time for bed
- Time for playing
- Snack time
When taking notes of these times, you also have to consider your child’s needs to help her follow the schedule with ease.
The easiest way to help your toddler follow her schedule is consistency and repetition. Consistency is an essential requirement in training toddlers. With repetition and consistency, toddlers can adapt to changes in activities and development.
Toddlers need to know when to and when not to cross the line. Sometimes they will push so hard to figure out boundaries. Like I said earlier, all of these still lie on consistency. Kids can only figure out where boundaries lie when you are consistent with your reaction to their actions.
Toddlers generally have a bag of emotion at the stage; they want to be express themselves and be heard. They want you to understand their feelings and what they want. Yes, they can overwhelm you and make you snap at them sometimes, but you have to constantly remind yourself that this is a stage and it’s going to pass.
Toddlers may seem like they don’t need a nap, but they still need to nap. Sometimes rather than sleeping, they may talk to themselves while in their crib; this doesn’t mean you should give up. Kids usually come up with one habit or the other, so you’ll still need to be consistent. Besides, not napping enough can make them restless, and you wouldn’t want that.
The importance of a routine to a developing child cannot be overemphasized. Routines make life easy for both you and your toddler. However, keep in mind that you don’t have to stick with exact timing; build little flexibility around those timings. Creating a daily routine for your toddler can provide a host of benefits:
Your Toddler Becomes Confident: Your toddler becomes more confident and comfortable when the toddler can expect the next activity. It’s soothing to know he will get a sippy cup after napping or his favorite toy after eating.
No More Bedtime Struggles: Establishing a routine for your toddler can put an end to your toddler’s bedtime battles. A toddler with a more consistent bedtime will find it easier to fall asleep than a toddler without a routine. Once it’s bedtime, the toddler would be ready to sleep without any challenge.
Your Toddler Would Experience Fewer Cranky Moments: You’d be surprised to see how irritable and cranky your toddler can be when she’s hungry or tired. A daily schedule can reduce those meltdown periods. Once your toddler expects to eat breakfast after a morning bath, she will be a little more patient before crying.
Reduces Mom’s Stress Levels: Creating a daily routine for your toddler helps you get through the day with lesser stress. If you expect your toddler to be asleep by 8, it can allow you to plan your activities accordingly.
Here’s a sample of a daily schedule for your toddler
6:45 AM – Waketime
7:30 AM – Breakfast time
8:00 AM – Get dressed
8:30 AM – Playtime/read books
10:30 AM – Snack
11:00 AM – Outside time
11:30 AM – Free play/Listen to music
12:00 PM – Lunch
12:30 PM – Quiet time/Nap
2:30 PM – Snack
3:00 PM – Outdoor playtime
5:30 PM – Dinner
6:00 PM – Cleanup
7:00 PM – Brush teeth/Evening bath
7:30 PM – Storytime
8:15 PM – Bedtime
This schedule gives you an idea of how a toddler’s routine should be. Keep in mind that your toddler’s schedule should conform to your personality. Because if you can’t manage your toddler’s daily schedule, you will be frustrated no matter how well the system works with her.
The Key to a Good Daily Schedule for Your Toddler
The most important aspect of creating a daily routine is; following the routine judiciously. It might be challenging to remember to follow a schedule when you have an active toddler running around the place. However, it becomes easier once you familiarize yourself with it. Here are tips to help you manage your toddler’s schedule without any struggle.
Use a Schedule Reminder
If you find it difficult to remember the schedule and help your toddler stick with the daily schedule, you should consider using a schedule/routine reminder. You could get a routine card or write it on a sticky note and hang them in the right places. For instance, you could hang up a mealtime routine on the kitchen fridge or a morning routine in the bedroom.
Automate Your Schedules
Sometimes you can get so involved in duties that time passes with an hour or two without you knowing. Alarms become helpful in this case, especially if you are a busy parent. You can use an alarm clock, timer, watch, or the reminder feature on your phone to help alert you when it’s time for an activity. You don’t need to stick precisely with the clock, but the alarms will make you mindful of the schedule.
Consistency and Practice
You are probably aware that “practice makes perfect.” Just like every other activity, you need to keep practicing to become accustomed to the schedule. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier to follow.
Creating a daily schedule for your toddler is essential; however, you should be flexible; don’t emphasize exact timing.