Although your toddler may seem programmed not to follow schedules, they will actually appreciate it once certain patterns are cemented into their mind and body clock, whether they know it or not! And as a parent, you'll be able to enjoy the day much more when your toddler has a good feel for what's going to happen next.
Creating a schedule while they're still a toddler (even a loose one) will reap benefits down the line. By the time school comes around, they'll be used to switching between activities and will need less guidance than the kids who were allowed to roam wild. Their teacher will be thanking you!
⏰ Start Routines Early and Often
Schedules should frankly be set in place as early as when they are babies. (There are numerous benefits to getting them on a sleep and eating schedule for both them and you!) But if you didn’t really have a set routine with your infant, I don’t blame you. Some days you are just hanging on to your sanity as long as you can until the baby falls to sleep.
📅 Toddler Routines to Put in Place Now
Many of the routines you begin now will carry over to when they start school. It will make the first year of school go much smoother, whether that's preschool or kindergarten.
Here's an example of a typical toddler’s schedule, packed with ideas for tasks you can put in place now. Oh and remember - toddlers need anywhere from 12 to 14 hours of sleep a day. If they aren’t getting enough, you will have one cranky kid on your hands!
- 7am: Wake up and immediately go to the bathroom or get diaper changed. 🌞
- 7:15am: Sit down and eat breakfast.
- 7:45am: Wash up and change into the clothes they will be wearing for the day.
- 8:15am: Independent playtime.
- 9:00am: Activities with parent.
- 10am: Playtime at the park.
- 11am: Wash up for lunch.
- 11:15am: Lunch! 🍲
- 12:00-2pm: Nap 💤
- 2:15pm: Guided reading and phonics.
- 3pm: Independent playtime with snack.
- 3:45: Learn numbers and math.
- 4:30pm: Wash up for dinner.
- 4:45pm: Dinner
- 5:30pm: Bath time and brush teeth.
- 6:15pm: Read with mom and dad in bed.
- 7pm: Turn out the lights. 🌃