How to create routines for toddlers


Toddlers need structure in their lives, and you can provide it through a consistent routine. Since most toddlers wake uo early in the morning, you can decide to start your day between 6 and 8 a.m. If you need some time to yourself, you can get up earlier to relax or take a short shower before your child wakes up. Once your toddler gets up, you can give him some cuddle time, give him a bath, brush his teeth and get him dressed for the day.

Include some playtime with the toddler

So your toddler ate his breakfast, and it is now 10 a.m. Use this time for playing around with your toddler. Do some of his favorite activities with him, such as coloring in coloring books, reading aloud, jumping on the trampoline, playing tag out in the yard or building things with Lego blocks. Do not do the same activities over and over. It is a good idea to switch activities occasionally so that your toddler will not get bored.

Lunch should be sometime after noon

Many toddlers will be hungry by noon, so you want to have a healthy lunch prepared by this time. Stay away from the fast food and boxed meals, as these are high in calories and sodium. Some good lunch ideas include tuna sandwiches on wheat bread, grilled chicken with honey mustard dip, macaroni and white cheddar sauce with green peas, and ham and Swiss sandwiches. Once your toddler has eaten, you might have him take a nap or let him play.

Plan some pre-dinner activities

It is now 3 p.m., and your toddler has taken his second nap. It is not yet dinnertime, and you can plan some activities that will keep him busy while you cook dinner. Your toddler can play in the yard with your spouse and his older siblings, as this helps him burn off the energy. Also, give your toddler a snack or two during his activities. For example, while he is outside, you can give him wheat crackers with peanut butter along with iced tea.

Serve dinner around 6 p.m.

By this time, your toddler might be ready for dinner. But, keep in mind that some toddlers are very picky eaters, while others might not be hungry at the regular dinner schedule. This is OK as long as you provide a variety of foods for him to eat during the day so that he will be full at nighttime. You'll need to get creative in your meal preparation and try different foods until you find some that the toddler likes.

Create a consistent bedtime schedule

This is one of the most difficult parts of creating a schedule for toddlers. The key is to get an idea of when your toddler gets sleepy each night, and then use this as a springboard for deciding on his bedtime. My one-year-old usually gets sleepy after 9 p.m., so I prepare her bedtime routine an hour before it happens. I start with her bath, then I put on her nightclothes. She plays with her toys for a while, and then I put on music to rock her to sleep.

This is just a sample routine that you can follow for your toddler. Feel free to adjust as needed based on your toddler's personality and needs.


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