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Tips on toddler routines

Updated on May 22, 2014

The importance of starting a routine early.

Daily routine of a toddler

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was scared, terrified, nervous. I knew nothing of children except the time I had babysat my nieces when I was fifteen and I can now say, I was not the best one then. So after nervousness, comes excitement. You talk to mothers, your own mother, everyone will have an opinion.

They will tell you their horror stories, how to get them to sleep, what to feed them, down to how to put diapers on. Something I heard nothing of, was routine. In reading all the new mother books, it broaches the subject quickly, however I do not think they give this subject enough salt.

My son is now 22 months and he has been on a nightly/daily routine since about four months old. As to say that you can stick to every part, every day is impossible, but I have learned that keeping as much of it as you can is worth the trouble.

I am a single mother and I work full time. I have many friends with children that quite frankly let there kids run a muck. Being I have a limited time period in my day, I need my son to adapt and adapt quickly. I have learned with him that he does better throughout the day when the routine is kept. We both get more done during the day and we both know what there is to look forward to. If you have to bring your children to day care, please find one that will embrace and see the importance of your routine.

So stick to whatever routine works for you. It may cut in to your time a bit and you may have to do some reworking, but I promise it will bring you less stress shopping and through out your day. Remember time management is everything!

Below is an example of my son's current routine.(Like I said, it will change, but keep as much of it the same as possible.)

7 am-Wake up

7:15 Breakfast (I try to go with high protein and fiber, seems to boost his energy for play.)

7:45 Dressed, teeth brush, hair, etc. (While he is eating, I am getting dressed myself and getting ready.)

8:00 Time to go to daycare!

8:30 Drop off at daycare and go to work.

At Daycare

9:00 Circle time (It is the time for the children to hear a story, show and tell, etc.)

9:30 Snack time

10:00 Free play ( Very important for the children/child to have a free time to do as they please. At home, I put up a lot of the un-necessary knick knacks, etc that he could get in to. Basically baby proofing and vigilant cleaning is needed, they will find anything you forget, guarenteed.)

11:30 Lunch

12:00 Nap time (Even if your child does not want to nap, a quiet time for both of you is recommended. I have learned I am a better mother, when I get those few minutes to myself. My son does not take naps anymore but he goes towards the bedroom after every meal.)

1:30 School (This is the time when you work on age appropriate puzzles, games etc. Everything is labeled for ages nowadays, but keep up with your child's learning. This is the time when they actually want to learn!)

3:00 Snack (Yes they eat like horses at this age, huh)

3:30 Guided playtime (Time to play with your baby, let your imaginations grow.)

4:30 Pick up your baby from daycare and drive home.

5:00 Cooking classes (For safety, I put him in his high chair and he watches me cook. Explain what you are doing, let them taste the ingredients. I like to show him the before and after of food, taste and sight.

5:30 Dinner Time

6:00 Electric Company ( His favorite show and we always watch it together on the couch, seems to give him time to digest a bit.)

6:30 Bath time (Make this a happy time, toys, imagination lives here too.)

7:00 Dance (Good for the heart and wears them down for the day. What goes up, must come down theory.)

7:30 Free Play time (Good time to get some dishes done or make beds, etc)

8:00 Say prayers (I start saying them out loud and he grabs his blanket.)

8:15 Tuck in and story time. (This is where the age disclaimers don't matter, I started reading John Grisham novels when he was a month old. The story matters a little, but the sound of your voice and that time together really seems to do the trick.)

And viola, you made it another day! I like to get the cleaning done as I go when I am home for the day, but on work days, the house can be revived in about a half an hour after he goes to bed. I am not saying parenting is easy, but when you and your children both know what comes next, you can anticipate and look forward to your activities together. So it is all about routine, routine, routine. All those super moms in the world don't have super powers, just good organizational skills and routines.


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