SOCIAL MEDIA

1.18.2017

Updated Toddler Daily Schedule + 3 Tips for Creating your Own

A while back I posted about our daily schedule. I mentioned that I love to go on Pinterest and see how other toddler mamas schedule their day. I love the idea of a well-scheduled day that goes exactly as I have written down. However, any mom can tell you, that is not realistic. Children are very unpredictable and you never know what the day will throw at you. I’m going to share a few tips that I hope will help you as you think about your own daily schedule.





Think more “Routine” and less “Schedule”:

You have to think of it more as a routine instead of a schedule. I have noticed with my son (and from briefly studying early childhood development in collage) that most children thrive on routines. They feel comfortable when they know what comes next. (I have even noticed that just by telling my son what we are doing next, he transitions easier than if I were to spring something on him all of the sudden. For example, he was having trouble with leaving us to go to the nursery on Sundays. I started telling him as we were walking into church that he was going to go play in the nursery with the other kids and we noticed that he seemed to transition better when I told him what was going on.) I have made this a habit in our daily lives by taking a minute to tell him what we are going to do next.

Flexibly is Key:

While I do have a very detailed looking daily schedule for us, the most important thing I have to remember is to be flexible! Everything on that schedule could change. I do usually keep meals and bedtime the same as much as I possibly can, but even those occasionally change up depending on what happens that day. For example, we both got sick last week and our days looked nothing like what I have written below. We rested as much as possible and ended up watching way too many cartoons.

Let go of the Comparison and Guilt:

We all do it. We all see another mama who looks like she has it all together and her life and schedule just seem to flow so easily and you start to compare your life and schedule to what little you know about hers. You start to feel like a failure because your schedule is not like hers. DON’T DO THIS, MAMA! There is probably so much you don’t know about her daily life. Even if you do happen to know this person (maybe your sister or a close friend) and you know what goes on every day, you still should not be comparing your life to hers.

There are so many different stages of motherhood and if you are in a totally different stage, you might not be able to do some of the things she does. When my son was younger, I would never have considered waking up early to get a head start on my day like I do now (see my morning routine here). I was simply trying to get as much sleep everyday as possible, haha. You really just have to sit down and figure out what stage you are in and what works best for you and your baby.

And, mama, please give yourself some grace. Do not feel guilty if your day is not very structured. Your baby really just needs you to be there to love him or her. Do what you can and don’t feel like you are not as successful or that you are not a good mom because your day looks different than this schedule here below or it is different from your sister who is in a different stage of motherhood. You got this, mama!



Ok, so here is what our daily schedule looks like now for my soon to be two year old.

Our (very flexible) Daily Schedule:

7:00- Wake up / Nurse, diaper change, get dressed

7:20- Play in kitchen or living room with toys (mama makes breakfast)

7:45- Breakfast

8:30-9:00- Independent Floor Play (mama cleans up from breakfast)

9:00-10:30- Errands/ Learning Activity (Preschool)/ Craft/ Outside Play/ Park

10:30- Watch show (mama makes lunch)

11:00- Lunch

11:30- Clean up, low-key activity while mama cleans up lunch, Read book together, get ready for nap

12:00-2:30- (Give or take…still working on a good long nap time) Nap

I try to at least make sure he rests even if he wakes up early from his nap. So I just came up with a few things on my schedule for him to do after he wakes up.

After Nap-

  • watch a show and have a snack

  • puzzles/ blocks/ hands-on activity

  • preschool activity

  • outdoor play/ walk

  • park

4:00- Dinner Prep (Depending on how grumpy he is at this time I will either have him watch a show while I do dinner or he loves to pull up a chair and watch me in the kitchen. Bonus points if I give him a bowl and something to mix!)

5:00- Dinner

5:30- Clean up while Dada gives him a bath and gets him ready for bed

6:00- Play with Dada

6:20- Clean up toys

6:30- Say prayers and nurse in his room

7:00- Bedtime

And that’s it! I hope that this will help you as you try to make up your own flexible daily schedule. Please feel free to ask me in the comments below if you have any questions.










32 comments :

  1. This sounds like a good schedule! Our days kind of vary so I sort of just go with the flow of each day. With two things just got a little cray

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  2. This is a great schedule. I second the "do what's best for you and your child" part! In this internet age we're bombarded with what we "should" do, but every kid is different!

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  3. I've never been one to have a schedule with my kids. A routine is better with lots of flexibility!! We are on the go a lot and our kids have always had to go with us. So they got used to "life as we know it". This just worked for us! I love your tips. Thanks!

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  4. I love schedules and schedules love me. Having 3 boys of different ages, I thrive on schedules. Good job mama.

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  5. This is a great routine for toddlers. I agree, it's really important to be flexible with toddlers. Trying to push play time when toddler is ready for a snack or a nap is no fun for anyone!

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  6. You're routine is pretty much spot on the same as ours.

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  7. You and I have about the same routine for our little ones. My kid just started shortening his nap for some reason and it is just awful. He's tired, but he doesn't want to sleep anymore.
    I want to give my kid independent time, but I always feel guilty, thank you for showing me that it's not something to feel guilty about.

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  8. This is a really good routine, but I love how you mention that you must be flexible! There will be days that things come up and the schedule is thrown for a loop! I know this has happened to me quite a few times lol

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  9. Krysten, I totally understand about those short naps, they are the worst! Yes! I totally believe that some independent play time is so important for them, plus, it's just not realistic for me to be by his side playing with him all day long.

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  10. Such great tips! Flexibility is definitely a key for me too; and not comparing myself to other moms, of course. Also: so jealous of your start time. My girl's an EARLY riser! Happy Friday xx

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  11. This is wonderful, Sheila. I love your perspective on routine versus schedule! And it's so very easy to do the comparisons with other moms and feel all the guilt. Let that go for sure!

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  12. Great point about routine rather than schedule! My son is almost 14 months and trying to keep him to a schedule would be impossible. He wakes up anywhere between 5-8 in the morning, so that determines whether it is a one of two nap day. I would love to have it consistent for planning purposes, but as you said, flexibility. If you don't mind me asking, how did you transition to nursing just at night? On the days that I'm home, I still nurse throughout the day, but know that transition is going to happen here soon. I would love to hear other people's experiences! Thanks!!

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  13. Actually, we nurse all the time! Like that is all he wants to do lately (although I think he is getting his molars now so that makes sense). I usually nurse before his nap still but we still nurse on demand (which has been ALL THE TIME this past week =/) so that is why I didn't include it in the schedule. Good luck, mama!

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  14. He actually will wake up somewhere between 6:00 and 6:30 most days, but I have some of his favorite toys in his crib that usually keep him occupied until 7:00. (I say usually because sometimes he wakes up in one of those moods and just starts screaming until I get him out. That would make it a very flexible day, haha.)

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  15. I love a good routine. My 18 month old thrives on her routine, but you're right - flexibility is key!!

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  16. I loved this post so much, Sheila! Your tips are totally spot on and I couldn't agree more with them! We never really had a schedule, it was always more of a routine.

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  17. Flexibility is so important when making our routines! Our routine changes a bit each day, but we do have one. :-)

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  18. The schedule looks fantastic! I totally agree with thinking more about routine than schedule! Mine are just shy of a year and we've traveled a lot, so the exact schedule wasn't always kept, but the routine was!

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  19. With our first child, I always felt like I was doing something wrong. It took us forever to find a schedule, sleep train and then it seemed like with every new milestone, our schedule would change. I found that I was the one having a difficult time with our routine. I tried so hard to keep such strict rules and also spend countless hours comparing myself to other families. I finally had to let go of everyone else's norms and finally embrace and create a routine that worked for our family. I'm happy to say that with baby number two, it was much easier to develop a routine and schedule that fit everyone's needs. Thanks for the gentle reminder today!

    Madalyn

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  20. I'm the same way. I try to keep myself and the kids on a schedule. Honestly, it keeps me sane. But I've learned that I need to allow for some flexibility if I'm going to not lose my mind. Because something ALWAYS happens to throw off our schedule. It never fails.

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  21. Routines are so important for our little one's but I agree that it's key to remain a little flexible as well. We are sure to keep meal times and nap/bed times consistent on a day to day basis for our 19 month old daughter. There's a little more wiggle room in the other parts of our day.

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  22. I totally thrive in a schedule! I love the examples you have placed and yes to routine! I get so much less stressed when I don't obsess over sticking to it too perfectly! Thanks for sharing!

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  23. I love your flexible "routine." I think I want to put something like this together too and see how I do. I don't even know my schedule, it helps to write it out right? Thanks for the inspiration! xx, a mom who does not have everything together. :D

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  24. Yes! It really helps to write it out. I even post mine on the fridge so I can easily see it.

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  25. Yes! Sometimes I'll find myself stressing about keeping my schedule and I have to remind myself that I NEED to be flexible.

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  26. Yes, bedtime and meals have to stay the same for us. I have always struggled with keeping naps consistent because it all depended on what time he woke up in the morning. Haha, it's been a long struggle, but I think we finally found something that works (for now anyway).

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  27. Routine is definitely key. Especially, I find even having a routine for nap and bed time makes a huge difference. Then they know time to sleep is coming.

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  28. So true! I have always struggled with a good pre-naptime routine, but we have been doing the same bedtime routine since he was born pretty much.

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  29. Haha, I completely understand! I feel like we are rarely following the schedule because of how often something comes up and throws it off. I've been getting very good at being flexible since having my son, haha.

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  30. I absolutely LOVE this! I'm a stickler for our routine, too! :) But yes, allowing yourself some "grace" as well!

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  31. Routine > schedule for sure! Gotta keep it flexible but consistent, too!

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  32. I love seeing the routines that work well for other toddler mamas. Some days we are so into our routine, and others we are out running errands and just lose track of time and it always catches up with us at bedtime! haha

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