The Importance of Toddler Routines
Routines are very important for toddlers. Routines give structure to
their day and help to reduce temper tantrums and crankiness that result
from irregular sleeping and eating schedules.
Daily routines are great for moms too, whether you stay at home or you work outside of the home.
The effectiveness of a daily routine isn't so much what time you
do something, but that you do something at the same time every day.
Setting a time that works for your family allows flexibility for
individual family schedules and needs.
Getting enough sleep is very important for young children. Many
toddlers need up to 12 hours of sleep at night and at least a 2 hour
nap every afternoon. The times that your toddlers sleep will be partly
dependent on your family's schedule. Our boys are in bed by 7 p.m.
every night, but that time wouldn't work as well for parents who don't
get home until later in the evening. Just make sure your children have
a regular bed time and a regular nap time. Their bodies adjust to these
times and they anticipate those times to sleep every day, even if they
don't act like they want to go to sleep. Lack of sleep makes them very
cranky and irritable.
A regular eating schedule is also very important for toddlers.
You know what I mean if you've ever been away from home at lunch time!
Children's bodies also become accustomed to eating at certain times,
even if we as parents don't always have our own eating schedules. Your
toddler's mood will also improve if he or she eats at regular times.
Don't forget to schedule times for snacks also. If you let them snack
too much during the day they won't want to eat at meal time.
Whatever else you want to schedule into your toddler's day is
up to you. I take my boys for a walk every morning, and they really
look forward to this time every day. It is good exercise for me and
they enjoy the fresh air.
Nighttime routines are also important for children of any age.
Toddlers transition to bedtime much more easily when they know what to
expect every night. A common bedtime routine is a bath and reading a
story before bed. It is also a good time to occasionally sit down and
watch one of your toddler's favorite videos with them.
I have found that having a basic schedule for the entire day
makes my day go by more smoothly and I don't have to think much about
what I'm doing to do during the day. That's really nice when you're
chasing more than one toddler around the house. Regardless of how much
time you spend at home with your children during the day, anyone can
benefit from scheduling family activities. It also helps you to not
forget to get anything done!
Here is my toddlers' daily schedule:
7:00 a.m. - wake up
7:30 a.m. - get up, get dressed, have breakfast
8:30 a.m. - go for a walk
9:00 a.m. - play
10:00 a.m. - morning snack
12:00 p.m. - lunch
1:00 p.m. - afternoon nap
3:30 p.m. - afternoon snack
5:00 p.m. - dinner
6:30 p.m. - bath, stories
7:00 p.m. - bed
I do most of my housework or grocery shopping in the evenings
after the boys are in bed. During play times is when we occasionally go
to the park or have grandma or grandpa come over to visit. There is
just enough flexibility, while the boys also know what to expect every
If you don't already have your toddlers into a daily routine,
start slow. Regular eating times are the easiest for them to adjust to,
new sleeping times may be harder. If you are changing your child's
sleeping schedule vary their sleeping time by 10 minutes a day until
they are sleeping at the desired time. Make sure your child is getting
up at the same time every morning. This will help them adjust to set
nap and bed times.
Good luck! Setting a daily routine for you and your toddler just might save your sanity!
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of
What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick
easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, home
decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative
Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com
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