As adults, our lives are filled with routines that help us stay on track with our schedules and obligations. Young kids may not have the same responsibilities as adults but they also benefit from following a routine that gives structure to their everyday lives. This is especially true for toddlers. The toddler stage of development can be challenging for many parents. Most parents of toddlers have experienced meltdowns and tantrums at one point or another, and the journey with a toddler is quite the roller coaster ride and this is exactly why a toddler schedule is important.
Young kids often have a fear of the unknown, and a consistent routine can help establish predictability and security through an established schedule. A toddler schedule is the “secret sauce” you may not have thought of when it comes to giving you a break from those constant and exhausting battles with your child. A structured routine can help toddlers to behave more appropriately and be more cooperative throughout the day. Using a schedule can also help you address your child’s negative behaviors and replace them with better ones.
Read on for helpful tips on how to create a smart toddler schedule.
Create a plan
Planning is always at the heart of any routine. So, before diving into creating a schedule for your toddler, first take some time to think about the specifics. What activities and tasks are most important to incorporate into your child’s schedule? Which ones are already part of the day that should remain in your child’s daily routine? Be sure to outline these things first, and follow a sequence. Remember that predictability and consistency help to make children feel safe and secure. These things can also help reduce negative behavior and tantrums. The more frequently things are repeated, the easier it becomes for children to adapt and cope with their anxiety.
Take cues from your child’s schedule
When creating your toddler’s schedule, don’t forget to take cues from your child’s existing routine. Take their current activities into consideration, especially the ones they enjoy most. The last thing you want to do is introduce an unfamiliar routine that your child might have a difficult time sticking to.
For example, does your little one enjoy reading books in the afternoon after lunch, or does he or she enjoy play time in the morning? Be sure to accommodate adjustments and integrate the things your child currently enjoys into your new schedule. This will make adapting to a new routine and sticking to the plan come more easily.
Take time to prepare
We’ve all been there – the morning rush where we’re going back and forth in a hurry to get the breakfast ready while getting the kids ready for school and getting ourselves ready for work. It’s quite a familiar scenario and also a very stressful one. Not only does this chaos make us cranky for the rest of the day, but it also affects your toddler’s need for structure.
This is where adequate preparation comes in. Take time to prepare whatever you can the night before in order to avoid that morning rush. For instance, think about what you might prepare for breakfast in the morning, and even prepare some of it ahead of time if it’s something you can store in the fridge. Get your children’s snacks ready the night before too, if possible. Adequate preparation can help you establish a smoother schedule and decrease the chances of meltdowns.
Include nap time and quiet time
Naps are a crucial part of a toddler’s growth and development. Be sure to have nap time included in your child’s daily schedule. However, you also have to ensure that naps are scheduled during a specific time of the day that you can stick to on a daily basis. Make sure naps occur during a window of time that’s not too late in the day and close to bedtime. This way, your child’s naps won’t interfere with the bedtime routine and disrupt your child’s ability to fall asleep at night.
Additionally, your toddler’s schedule doesn’t have to be jam-packed full of activities that occupy them every moment of the day. It’s okay to schedule some down time too, in which your little one can take a break and do a quiet activity of his or her choosing such as playing with building blocks or coloring.
Creating a schedule for your toddler is key to raising a well-behaved and well-adjusted child. Follow these tips to help you create a routine young children will find easy to follow while learning and exploring the world around them.
Find more helpful parenting tips and resources by visiting The Pillars Christian Learning Center.