Taking care of toddlers can seem overwhelming because with my little experience, this is their NO stage. They are so rebellious to everything you ask them to do, this can make your whole day very stressful. As important as bedtime routine, so is an effective daily routine because it makes life easier as parents; it eliminates power struggle and makes kids cooperate as you are not bossing the kids around, they already know what needs to be done at what time of the day. Within weeks of establishing a working routine, you’ll notice that your child gain more confidence, you put an end to bedtime battle, fewer meltdown/tantrum and flexibility.
Toddlers and pre-schoolers function well with a structured schedule, it makes them feel safe and have a sense of security because they know what happens next, it teaches them boundaries, it makes them develop a sense of control like they are in control of their life and let them explore their world with little or no worries. It helps them learn to take charge of their own activities. Over time, kids learn to brush their teeth, clean up, etc., without constant reminder. Kids love being in charge of themselves, this feeling increases their sense of mastery and competence. Kids who feel more independent and in charge of themselves have less need to rebel and be oppositional. The more secure toddlers feel, the more they can focus on things like learning, exploring, and playing.
It is known that children who come from chaotic homes where things are not organised never learn that life can run more smoothly if things are organised a little. In homes where there is no set time or space to do homework/ study time, kids never learn how to sit themselves down to accomplish an unpleasant task. Kids who don’t develop basic self-care routines, from grooming to food, may find it hard to take care of themselves as young adults. Structure allows us to internalize constructive habits.
Having a routine may seem repetitive to you but children like repetition; reading a book over and over may bore adults but kids love it, like they always ask for the same bedtime story during bedtime. Routine for toddlers and pre-schoolers should be centred around their daily needs; feeding, getting dressed, study/learning time, nap time, playtime and cleaning up, potty time, outdoor play, e.t.c. Below is an effective routine that works for me and my little cuties who are pre-schoolers by the way:
7:00 a.m. Wake up, potty time and play
8:00 a.m. Brush teeth, get dressed
8:30 a.m. Breakfast and clean up
9:30a.m. Playgroup/ study time/ Educational TV
11:00 a.m. Snack time and Entertaining TV
12:30 p.m. Naptime
2:30 p.m. Lunch and clean up
4:30 p.m. Afternoon snack and Outdoor play/walk/ study time/ Educational TV
6:00 p.m. Dinner
6:30 p.m. Playtime and clean up
7:00 p.m. Have a bath/brush teeth
8:00 p.m. Pyjamas, story time
8:00-9.00 p.m. Bedtime
The above routine is for weekdays, our routine for the weekend is usually different, well relaxed and more flexible. Also, they are yet to start nursery which I know there will be some changes to our routine once they start. On days that they do not have afternoon nap, they have early bedtime of 7.00-7.30pm. We do not live our life by the clock, having a steady sequence of activities is important, but we don’t stress about precise timing. We give room for flexibility, (e.g. breakfast before bathing or bathing before dinner), and enjoy each activity as much as we can. At times, by dinner time, I am already so tired but knowing that in the next few hours, they’ll go to bed, then I know I can go through these few hours without losing it.
It is important to let them enjoy every activity as much as they can so they wouldn’t see it as a chore.
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