If you thought raising an infant was hard, you’re in for a surprise. Many parents find that chasing a toddler around is even more draining. But it’s also a lot of fun. To make these fleeting years as enjoyable as possible for both you and your little one, it’s wise to establish a daily routine.
Research suggests that family routines may boost mental health and help children learn how to moderate their impulsiveness. From creating a toddler’s daily routine chart to creating activities for certain times of the day, here are some helpful ways to establish a daily routine with your toddler.
Establish a Wake-Up Time & Bedtime
Ensuring the rest of the day is built around a routine will be hard if you don't have established wake-up and bedtimes. As a parent, it can be tempting to let your toddler sleep in as long as possible so you can get more done. But you’ll most likely find that your day goes much smoother when your little one gets up at the same time every morning.
If you let your child sleep in, you’ll also have difficulty getting them to bed at a reasonable hour. If possible, stick to your morning and bedtime routines as closely as possible, even on the weekends. After a while, your schedule will become a habit, and you won’t have to fight as hard to get your child up in the morning or put them down for bed at night.
Set a Breakfast, Snack, Lunch & Dinner Time
Establish consistent breakfast, snack, lunch, and dinner times in your child’s daily routine. Many parents go off their toddler’s hunger cues to determine when they’ll feed them. But taking this type of free-style approach can throw the rest of your plans into disarray. If you’re serious about establishing a toddler daily routine, mealtimes should be consistent.
Most children have about three meals and up to three snacks each day. Mealtimes don’t have to be very long. Just 10 or 15 minutes is sufficient for most children to satiate their hunger. If you’re a bit old-school, you may think it’s necessary to make your child sit still until they have entirely cleaned their plate and emptied their cup or bottle. But this can lead to various problems, such as aversion to food and obesity. It’s generally best to let your child stop eating when full.
Create Activities for Late Afternoon & After Lunch
To keep your little one happy, scheduling activities for late afternoon and after lunch is a good idea. These should be wiggling activities to help your energetic child expend pent-up energy. An afternoon busy toddler daily routine may include one or more of the following:
- Throwing a ball back and forth
- Chasing each other in the yard
- Playing with toddler-friendly musical instruments
- Blowing bubbles
- Building with blocks
Every toddler is different so yours may respond better to some activities than others. Feel free to experiment until you come up with a list of favorite activities after lunch.
Have a Solid Before Bedtime Routine
Many children struggle to wind down in the hours or minutes before bedtime. You can help give their bodies the cue to produce more melatonin by establishing a soothing bedtime routine. Here are some pre-bedtime routine suggestions to prepare your energetic child for bed.
- Taking a warm bath
- Reading books
- Spraying Wellements Organic Sleepy Time Spray onto pillows
- Singing lullabies
- Turning lights down low
Soon, your toddler’s body will learn to respond to these routines by becoming drowsy. Once your little one drifts off to sleep, you can prepare to repeat the same routine tomorrow.