Routines For Toddlers That Make Your Day Easier
Have you ever seen what happens when a toddler gets thrown off of their routine? For my daughter it means bouncing off the walls, possible tears, and higher chances of a tantrum. I’m guessing if you are reading this that you are in the same boat and are looking for routines for toddlers that will make every ones’ day go smoother.
Children, much like adults, thrive on routines. They feel safe when they know what is happening next, why is it happening, and what is expected of them.
The difference between a routine and a habit is simply intent. Routines are intentional, thought-out procedures that occur again and again. Habits are usually the effect of the routine – the actions we take over and over that eventually become part of who we are.
Now imagine a child not having that structure, not knowing how to work within the world around them.
Fortunately, there are steps we as adults can take to help provide our children with the structure they crave. Here are just a few of my recommendations for building routines for your toddler or young child.
Daily Routines For Toddlers
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Morning Routines For Toddlers
Think of all the events that go into getting ready in the morning. Talk with your child(ren) and help them come up with an order of events.
My toddlers morning routine:
- Go potty
- Eat breakfast
- Bible Story and memory verse
- Get dressed, brush teeth, fix hair
- Help feed dogs
- Help make bed
- Go for a short walk (when weather is nice)
- Do homeschool preschool
This doesn’t have to be what your morning looks like, but having a routine and an order will help streamline whatever you get done first thing in the morning!
You are still dealing with a toddler so they will need help along the way but making these expectations for them will help keep them on track.
Morning Routine Chart and Cards
We have recently started using a really cool system for teaching my 3-year-old her morning routine and is going very well.
We found some daily routine cards on Etsy that I printed off to help her have a visual of what needs to be done each morning. I laminated them, plus I made an envelope for the routine cards to stay in.
We leave the envelope on the refrigerator. Each morning she takes all the routine cards out and sits them on the table. She completes each one and puts them back into the envelope. It is sort of a game for her and she has really been enjoying it.
Meal/Snack Routines For Toddlers
Having a structured, planned meal and snack breaks will help them to know when it is time to eat, thus (hopefully) eliminating the concern over a growling tummy.
Again, talk to your child(ren) about what they think meal time or snack time should look like.
What is the parent’s responsibility? What is the child’s responsibility? When will meals or snacks occur, and what needs to happen before and after?
Asking these questions allows your child to give input and feel included in the decisions, as opposed to possibly rebelling against rules they feel were forced upon them.
Chores For Toddlers
The amount of evidence that chores are a positive thing for children is growing every day.
There are tasks that even the youngest child can accomplish, so there is no reason to shy away from having your kiddos pitch in!
The front-loading you will have to do to teach them how to do the chore will pay off huge dividends as they take over tasks that you would have to do otherwise.
Having assigned chores each day teaches your little one how to be responsible and grateful for the clean home they get to live in!
Start by adding one at a time to their morning routine and/or night time routine.
This can easily be done with my Routine Cards System, that I mentioned above. Just add a new card to the envelope whenever you feel they are ready to take on a new chore.
Make sure to help them through the chore for a while until they really can get it done on their own. If you don’t spend time teaching them how to do it, it may never get done, and turn into a big struggle.
Bedtime Routine For Toddlers
Getting your child(ren) to bed is arguably the most important routine of the day. The more you can stay consistent and calm, the better these evenings will go.
From experience, it doesn’t take much to throw a child off of their bedtime routine – even something as simple as a late-night visiting with grandparents.
I’m not suggesting that there won’t be exceptions to the rule, but the more you can be consistent, the more success you will have.
In our home, everything is gauged in relation to bedtime. If our three-year-olds bedtime is 7:30 pm, we work backward from there.
My toddlers night time routine:
- Cleanroom and put all toys away
- Wash face and hands (or take a bath)
- Brush teeth
- Get pajamas on
- Brush hair
- Tell daddy go night
- Read a book
- Say prayers
This routine for toddlers goes better when we give our self plenty of time and don’t try to rush it. If bedtime is 7:30 we start a 7. If she needs to take a bath, we start even earlier.
Does this always happen? Nope. But I try to stick as close to that routine as possible so that we have a happy, healthy, and calm evening.
Using the chore chart and routine cards for the evening routine is great as well. We are still in the early stages of using the cards for the morning routine. We will eventually make a different envelope for the night time routine.
If this all seems very foreign to you, please don’t attempt everything at once. Pick one part of your day to create a routine for.
Remember that you are your child’s best teacher, and they will learn from watching you. Model what you expect of them as far as sticking to a routine.
Eventually, the goal would be for routines to become habits. Do you already have routines and habits in place? Which of these Routines and Habits for Toddlers do you feel is the most crucial to tackle first?
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Here are some more ideas I have on routines and productivity.
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