Toddlers are a force to be reckoned with. I’ve found my son and I have much better days when we are on a schedule.
Establishing a toddler schedule has decreased the number of meltdowns in my household.
As it turns out, I thrive with a schedule as well.
Benefits to a schedule
I’ve found a number of benefits to having my toddler on a schedule.
#1 – We see less tantrums. My son is no longer getting overly tired, so his mood throughout the day is much more tolerable.
#2 – He is sleeping throughout the night. Yes, we still have nights where he will wake up, but they’re far less frequent. I thought I would never get my son sleeping through the night.
#3 – My husband and I are on the same page. Being in the military makes my husband’s schedule very unpredictable, but his adjustment back into home life is much easier knowing we have a ‘flow’ to our days.
#4 – You are mimicking the schedule that your children will experience at school / daycare. Consistency is key! You repeat things for your child to learn, and this is no different.
Obviously, my schedule is what works for my life. I am blessed with the ability to work from home with my son, so what works for us may not work for you. I also only have one child. This routine will surely be different for parents with multiple kiddos.
7:30 – 8:30 Time to wake up! I start his morning by turning off the sound machine while I am greeting him. We go straight for a diaper change.
8:30 – 9:30 Breakfast time! I put him in his high-chair and make his breakfast. I sit at the table with him while he eats breakfast even if I am not eating yet.
9:30 – 10:00 Play time! When he is done with his breakfast I clean off his tray. I get him down from the table after I clean the tray and put his dishes on the counter. We play in his room the remainder of the time.
10:00 – 11:00 Nap time! I make him a bottle and take him back into his room. I turn the sound machine and a small lamp on, and I turn the overhead light off. I rock him while he has his bottle, and I tell him it is ‘night night time’. When he finishes his bottle we read a book, and then I put him in his crib. I cover him up and kiss him just as I do at bedtime.
11:00 – 11:30 Lunch time! I put him back in his highchair while I make him lunch. We sit at the table together and have lunch. I clean up the table, and I get him down from his chair.
11:30 – 2:30 Play time! Weather permitting we spend part of this time outside. I like to put him in his stroller for a walk first so his food has time to settle before he is crawling around. If I have to run errands, then I typically do them during this time. Around 1:30 I like to give him a snack.
2:30 – 3:30 Nap time! We read another book to wind down before our nap. Sometimes the excitement of the day makes the start of this nap a little bit fussy, but inevitably he is asleep within 10 minutes.
3:30 – 5:00 Play time! We practice our sign language and play during this time. Usually I bring a few toys into the kitchen so I can do some cleaning and start preparing dinner.
5:00 – 5:30 Dinner time. Back at the table as a family for dinner time.
5:30 – 6:15 Bath time. We do a bath every night because he is such a water bug. We follow up the bath with lotion and pajamas.
6:15 – 7:15 Winding down. We video chat with grandparents and show off all of our tricks. We have one last little snack and bottle before we brush our teeth for bedtime. One last book before we are off to bed.
7:15 – 7:45 Bedtime. All lights get turned off, and I turn on his sound machine. I hug and kiss him goodnight and lay him in his crib. I remind him that I love him and that it is time to go ‘night night’. I leave the room and close his door. He puts himself to sleep without much fuss.
Creating a successful schedule
Coming up with a schedule that fits your family can be hard work.
Your schedule can change. I wouldn’t recommend that you change your schedule weekly, but there are a number of reasons you will need to make changes to your schedule.
- Adding in a sports / extra curricular commitment
- School releasing for summer break
Part of having a successful schedule is making sure everyone in your child’s life is aware- babysitters and regular visitors are included!
Don’t be afraid to smack a copy of your schedule on the fridge to serve as a reminder.
The ultimate lesson
You may find that the schedule you create is more or less strict than mine, and that is totally fine!
Like I said, the goal is just to create a toddler schedule that works for you!
I feel like scheduling is a trick to motherhood that I stumbled upon after exhausting all other options, so I wanted to make sure to share it.
Hopefully you find yourself creating a schedule long before you wear yourself out.