5 Reasons To Set Toddler Daily Schedule And Tips To Establish It

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A toddler does several things during the day. Keeping track of those activities becomes easy if you have a schedule ready. Setting a daily schedule for toddlers is a great way to make their routine efficient. It lets you plan and manage activities such as naptime and playtime so that no activities overlap.

A toddler schedule enables the toddler to do everything in a designated time and for a stipulated period, giving them enough stimulation and relaxation. In addition, it trains them to follow a timetable, which essentially helps in disciplining them. A well-planned toddler schedule can help parents support their toddler’s overall development.

Scroll down to know more about how to make a toddler schedule and its benefits for you and your little one.

Why Should You Establish A Toddler Schedule?

Besides making your toddler’s routine disciplined, a toddler schedule could provide the following benefits (1) (2).

  • An easy stop to bedtime cribbing: Your toddler will sleep more quickly and create significantly fewer tantrums if you maintain a consistent naptime and sleep routine (3).
  • Develop good habits: A schedule can help the child understand and improve their time management skills from an early age. It also helps them understand that there are appropriate time and time limits for each activity.
  • Help cope with change: A toddler with a schedule could be less likely to be affected by external factors, such as a new sibling or a guest since they would know exactly when to do their tasks without having to be concerned about the changes.
  • Set a foundation for the future: When a toddler is habituated to a schedule from a younger age, they have an easier time adjusting to significant changes that could emerge during their teenage years. It could make them better at adopting any change and making it an integral part of their routine.
  • Help the parents in planning: A fixed schedule helps keep the parents more relaxed and organized time since they are aware of their child’s naptime, playtime, meal schedule, and other activities.

Sample Chart Of Daily Toddler Routine

Here’s an example of a planned daily schedule for your baby (4).

  • 6:00 – 7:30 am – Early morning routines and feeding/milk
  • 8:00 – 8:30 am – Wake up
  • 8:30 – 9:00 am – Breakfast time
  • 9:00 – 10:00 am – Playtime (Games, Activities)
  • 10:00 – 10:30 am – Snack time
  • 10:30 – 11:00 am – Indoor/Outdoor play
  • 11:00 – 12:30 pm – Books and Morning Nap
  • 12:30 – 01:30 pm – Lunchtime
  • 01:30 – 2:30 pm – Indoor/Outdoor play
  • 2:30 – 03:00 pm – Snack, Toileting, Book Reading
  • 03:00 – 04:30 pm – Afternoon nap
  • 04:30 – 5:00 pm – Snack time
  • 5:30 pm – Dinner Prep and help and/or TV or other screen time
  • 6:00 pm – Dinner
  • 7:00pm – Bedtime

The following are the various routines that you could follow as part of the toddler schedule.

  • Morning routine: Try to keep your morning routine consistent and follow the same steps every day; this will keep your child relaxed and result in minimal mood swings.
  • Mealtime routine: Your child should have 2–3 snack times in a day apart from the three regular meals (5). The fixed timings of these meals will keep them prepared, and they will readily eat without much fuss.
  • Chores routine: Teach your child the value of household chores from the beginning so that they respect housework. Start by giving them small tasks every day during their playtime. Pick tasks that they are likely to enjoy (6).
  • Playtime routine: Create a playtime routine with at least two play sessions a day. It could include fun indoor games, taking them to the park, going out for a walk, and even doing fun household chores (4).
  • Bedtime routine: Your toddler’s bedtime routine can include a bath, getting them into comfortable PJs, teaching the value of hygiene by brushing teeth before going to bed, and reading a bedtime story, followed by going to bed (3).

Things You Should Add To Your Toddler’s Schedule

The addition of the following activities to the schedule could uplift the toddler’s mood and provide them with several developmental benefits (7).

  • Play outdoors: Being locked inside the home can get tiresome for a toddler. Make a habit of taking them out for a few hours every day and letting them play in the fresh air.
  • Read books: Make a practice of reading bedtime stories along with your toddler. It stimulates their imaginative power and works on developing their language skills. Engage them in the story by asking them to fill it in with their imagination.
  • Dance routine: Try to make the daily routine a bit more entertaining and fun by having a dance session. Play some music and groove on it with your little one.
  • Art activities: Encourage your toddler to try art and craft activities, which will enrich their sensory experience and optimize their innovative capabilities.
  • Work on gross motor skills: Focus on your toddler’s gross motor skills by indulging them in a few physical activities, such as jumping, playing with a ball, running, and moving up and down the stairs.
  • Formulate activities to improve fine motor skills: Try to make your toddler participate in activities that enhance their fine motor skills. You can choose activities such as solving puzzles, painting, and playing with play dough or slime.
  • Play with friends: Having friends and playing with them helps your toddler learn the habit of sharing and cooperating. Playing with children of their age group will teach your toddler the value of friendship right from the beginning.

Tips For Developing The Right Schedule For Your Toddler

Here are a few points you could consider while developing the right daily schedule for your toddler (8).

  • Make a plan based on your toddler’s behavior. Your toddler tends to give you hints at what they like and what they don’t. Take those cues and make a daily routine schedule based on your toddler’s preferences.
  • Avoid repeated changes to the wake-up time and bedtime. Do not waiver when it comes to your child’s sleeping and waking-up time. Uniformity in the sleeping schedule will help both you and your child.
  • Don’t skip naptime. Make space for a regular nap time since toddlers could need two to three hours of naps a day.
  • Keep the eating schedule consistent. Just like a sleep schedule, the mealtimes should be consistent. Making frequent changes to the time could make the toddler hungry and lazy at odd timings.
  • Discuss with your toddler. Remember to take your toddler’s inputs while creating a schedule. They could have some ideas and opinions that can help you better design a well-suited schedule.
  • Keep provision for changes. Although the consistency of the daily schedule is vital, you must be mentally prepared to make changes when the situation demands it. The best way to do it is by listing down prospective situations that may affect the toddler’s schedule and how you would adjust it at those moments.

A toddler schedule is a great way to organize your little one’s day. From mealtimes to nap times and playdates, you can accommodate several of your toddler’s tasks and activities in it in a time-bound manner. You can also re-arrange the activities whenever needed. Once you have a schedule ready, maintain it. Following a schedule diligently discipline your toddler and helps them build good habits. As they grow, they learn to keep a schedule for themselves, which helps in time management and discipline. So, have a toddler schedule and teach your child organization early.

Key Pointers

  • Planning your toddler’s daily schedule will help you maintain a consistent play and nap time while teaching them time management and discipline.
  • You may divide their schedule into different parts, such as playtime, study time, and nap time.
  • For their overall development, try including some painting, puzzle-solving, and outdoor games in their routine schedule.

References:

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Dr. Anuradha Bansal

(MD)
Dr. Anuradha Bansal is a pediatrician and neonatologist working as assistant professor in the Department of Paediatrics at PIMS Jalandhar. She has done her MBBS and MD Pediatrics at GMCH, Chandigarh. Thereafter, she polished her skills as senior resident at MAMC, Delhi. She has also done IAP Fellowship in Neonatology at GMCH, Chandigarh and obtained the membership of the prestigious... more

Rohit Garoo

Rohit Garoo is a zoologist-botanist turned writer with over 8 years of experience in content writing, content marketing, and copywriting. He has also done an MBA in marketing and human resources and worked in the domains of market research and e-commerce. Rohit writes topics related to health, wellness and development of babies. His articles featured on several notable websites, including... more