Toddler’s Daily Routine :
How to Get Them to Fall in Line
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Getting your toddler’s on a daily routine will be the single most important piece to keeping you sane! Let’s be honest here, if they go all willy nilly on yah every day, and you don’t know what to expect you’re going to find life gets a little more chaotic than it needs to be.
Below you will see an example of a toddler’s daily routine that you can start, adjust as necessary and stick to that will have your little monkey’s falling in line in no time!
Then maybe, just maybe, you can fit in some time for yourself! Whether that be getting things done around the house, work, r-e-l-a-x-a-t-i-o-n or what have you. Point is, life gets much easier when you have your kids on a routine. Below the routine outline, I go into detail on how to get the kiddos to fall in line with it.
A Toddler’s Daily Routine In Example
0700- Wake them up with a smile or a song (create morning people)
0745- Diapers or potty time (dependent on your child’s stage)
0800- Brush teeth! (Make this fun, get character paste and brushes, my kids LOVE the electronic ones)
0815- TV time (one 30 minute show while mama cleans up the morning mess)
0845- Potty Break
0900- Pre-K fun! Engage in games, songs, crafts, books, etc. related to the Alphabet, Numbers, Name recognition, shapes.
1030- Small snack, potty break/diapers, Tidy up for nap time (have the kids help tidy up)
1100-1230- NaP tImE! (This is you time!… USE IT WISELY!) I suggest around 1215 to get lunch ready, that way the kiddos wake up to something, and it curbs the cranky moods they tend to be in when they are woken up!
1230- Lunch, Potty break/Diapers
1300- Outdoor FUN! (Weather permitting) …bad weather? Check out my rainy day ideas page here
1430- Potty break, wash hands/clean up from being outside
1500- TV or Electronic time
1600- Give them something to do that will spark their imagination, dress up is always a crowd pleaser and or encourage them to go off and play, either playroom, their bedroom, living room, wherever they typically go to play! This is your time to sit back and relax before you get dinner prepared. Have the kiddos help make dinner! They’re more likely to eat what they helped prepare!
1730-1800- Dinner Time! Kiddos wash your hands and sit down at the table (you can have them help set the table too)
1900-2000- Bedtime routine! Keep it the same every night! See my post here on bedtime routines!
Children CrAvE routines!
They like to know what to expect, and being on a schedule will help ease off crankiness. Even the most stubborn of children will follow suit, they may take longer but with your persistence and a little patience they will soon surprise you.
The number one thing moms say to me is
It wasn’t easy at first, especially with two of them (my niece and nephew) dealing with emotional issues at the time, but it was necessary for me to make this work for all of us.
At times, I even had to be downright MEAN! And guess what?! That’s okay! Children need to know you mean business and that they will not get their way by kicking and screaming. Do not live in that nightmare.
If you’re showing your child that you love them on a daily basis, being “mean” (the enforcer) when need be is entirely okay and necessary! This usually only happens surrounding naptime and bedtime, so when they are throwing a fit or just up playing in their room rather than sleeping, you need to become the Enforcer.
- Play nice at first, this is new to them. “Hunnie, it’s nap time, you need to get in bed and close your eyes. You need your rest so we can____________later.
- When it continues to be an issue, and they are not taking to your new naptime/bedtime schedule, you will need to play bad cop a little.
Bad cop, bad cop, what chyah gonna do, what chyah gonna do when they ScReAm at you…
Oh yeah, your welcome for getting that stuck in your head all day ?
Here are some ways of playing bad cop…
- “I said it was nap time, close your eyes and go to sleep, no more! I will have lunch for you when you get up.” (close the door and walk away, yes even if their crying)
- “That’s enough hunnie! You need to get some rest so you have energy for the day if you don’t take your nap now we will not go to the park later. I will check on you in a few minutes, go to sleep.”
- Simply try the cry it out method. This is the toughest of them all. I know personally, I’d rather go in, be bad cop and end with a reassurance than not go in and hear them crying and crying for me. BUT that being said, I have done this. AND IT WORKED!
The first few days with this method were pure hell for them and me! But after that, it sunk in… They knew when I said it was nap time, it was nap time, and there was no sense fighting it and that I’d be there to wake them up soon with lunch and activities!
- If they are caught playing with toys in the room, they just lost it. Take the toy and tell them you are supposed to be taking a nap, not playing with this. Now you don’t get this back until you start sleeping at nap time.
The above are just examples, so you can understand when I say sometimes you have to be mean, I am not implying some soft sugar coated new age crap. I am also not suggesting you beat or scar your children for life. Kids need to know you stick to your guns, and won’t back down every time they cry. If you give in, back down, settle or even compromise every time your child throws a fit, you may be teaching them bad habits. This, if it becomes consistent will teach them to become manipulative and selfish.
On that note…
Compromise is a great thing to instill in children, but this must be done in increments. You cannot make everything a compromise or again; you will be instilling in your child that everything is negotiable in life, and we both know life does not always play well with others ?
I promise you, after a short time of following the same routine and enforcing it, your children will willingly and joyfully follow suit. I’ve even had them remind me when I’m caught up in something. They love knowing what to expect! If only we as adults could have such a blessing, am I right?
Tips to cueing your little ones:
- “It’s almost nap time, one more episode and then we are going to take our naps.”
- “Go play you only have a few minutes before we all lay down for a nap.”
- “After you wake up we will ……”
- “You know what, that sounds like fun. Let’s take a nap first and we’ll do that when we get up.”
- “That was a great breakfast, how about after our belly’s settle we brush our teeth!”
You get where I’m going? Right?
Schedule meal time too
(of course, there is always wiggle room with these, but I find the more consistent, the better they actually eat)
Breakfast: As soon as they get up, start preparing it. They can sit around, play around anything that will let them wake up a little before eating.
Lunch: Save yourself the agony and prepare it before you get them up from their nap and have it ready. I always serve lunch directly after nap time.
Dinner: Now this one fluctuates depending on schedule, but I prefer to have this meal ready for them between 5-6.
After dinner, tell them to wash up, brush their teeth and then…
What are they you ask?
Oh mama, let me let you in on my two best kept secret weapons always in my toddler’s daily routine arsenal;
THE ENERGY DUMP
When in doubt, tire them out! Let them run wild, chase them, tickle fest, anything to burn off energy (20 minutes usually will do the trick)
And of course,
THE WIND DOWN
This can either be one in the same with your bedtime routine itself or separate. I find it works better if the wind down comes prior to the bedtime routine. Watch a short episode of their favorite show together, lay and talk about the day, have a cup of milk which is great for aiding sleep. (see my post on sleep aids for children here ) then you say, okay 5 minutes and we are going to get ready for bed.
Bonus wind down option for great weather: lay out blankets in your yard and star gaze.
Start your bedtime routine… See mine here → Bedtime Routines
Keeping yourself on target
While this will be new to you as well, and you being the SIC Mama that I know you are, you’re often busy and caught up in things. It is very easy to lose track of time! While you’re getting yourself used to the new routine, utilize your smartphone, I can’t stress this enough…. SET ALARMS! An overwhelming amount of alarms!
I found when I first started this routine I had to set alarms for brushing teeth, potty breaks and nap time. Those are the easiest things to have slip your mind when you’re buried five kids deep in chaos.
ALARMS! Let me say it again… A-L-A-R-M-S! This will keep you on track until it comes natural and best of all, it will act as a cue for your kids!
Persistence, Patience, Perseverance!
The three P’s if you will indulge me a little.
It’s all about Persistence, you stick to it and possibly have your own pint-sized version of hell week, and they will fall into the routine. They will even be happier and healthier because of it!
It will take Patience They will kick, scream and wear you down at first! Keep your eye on the prize!
Perseverance- steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. < as the dictionary says.
You will, you can, and it will pay off in the end!!! I wish you luck my good mama.
I’d love to hear what some of your biggest challenges are that you have faced in trying to set a routine?
Let us know in the comments below!
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