Establishing Toddler Routines

Why Kids Like Repetition

Reading the same book over and over may drive you crazy, but it's good for your toddler. Among the payoffs:

  1. Comfort: Repeated behaviors (such as singing "Rock-a-bye Baby" or tucking your child's doll into bed when you put her down) remind your little one that she's in a loving, safe environment.
  2. Learning: Through repetitive acts (such as banging one block against another), your 1-year-old tests hypotheses (will the block always make the same sound?). He also figures out the order of events: In Goodnight Moon, for instance, he'll remember that the page with the three little bears sitting on chairs comes before the one with two little kittens and a pair of mittens.
  3. Confidence: Knowing the words to a story or song boosts your child's self-esteem. Even if she can't sing "Old MacDonald" yet, she'll enjoy making the animal sounds for each verse.

A Sample Schedule

Need help establishing a routine for your toddler? Borrow this blueprint -- then adjust it to your own needs.

6:45 a.m. Wake up, play in the crib or your bed
7:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Get dressed, brush teeth
8:30 a.m. Read books and play
10:30 a.m. Morning snack
11:00 a.m. Arts and crafts
11:30 a.m. Listen to music
12:00 p.m. Lunch and cleanup
12:30 p.m. Naptime
2:30 p.m. Afternoon snack
3:00 p.m. Outdoor play/walk
5:30 p.m. Dinner
6:00 p.m. Playtime and cleanup
7:00 p.m. Have a bath/brush teeth
7:30 p.m. Pajamas, story time, lullabies
8:15 p.m. Bedtime

Don't live your life by the clock. Having a steady sequence of activities is important, but don't stress about precise timing.

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