How to Create a Good Toddler Schedule

Routine is very important for toddlers.

With a good routine, you are also teaching your child discipline and helping her make each day more productive.

What’s more, a toddler schedule can help your child have an inspiration to engage in new and exciting activities. 

So the question is, how do you create an ideal schedule for your toddler? Here are some tips you can try, as well as a sample toddler routine that may help your little one make the most out of her day.

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A Toddler Schedule May Vary From One Child to Another

No two toddlers are the same.

In fact, your child works a different way than another child, so you have to take this into account when creating a toddler schedule.

You need to observe what works for your little one and organize a way to create a suitable routine for her.

Here is our suggestion for a sample toddler schedule that will suit different ages of toddlers.

Sample Regular Toddler Routine for Ages 19 to 21 Months

MORNING

AFTERNOON/ EVENING

  • 7:00 - Wake up and make the bed
  • 8:00 - Eat breakfast
  • 9:00 - Play with building blocks or other age-appropriate toys
  • 11:30 - Lunch
  • 12:30 - Mid-day nap
  • 1:30 - Wake up from a nap
  • 2:00 - Read a book with mom, dad or caregiver
  • 2:30 - Fun activities (art, crafts)
  • 3:00 - Snack
  • 4:30 - Walk/ play outside
  • 5:00 - Back indoors, get cleaned up
  • 5:30 - Dinner
  • 7:30 - Wind down, bedtime

Guide to Creating an Effective Toddler Schedule

As we have mentioned earlier, a toddler schedule varies from one child to another.

You cannot expect your friend’s child’s schedule to be suitable for your little one.

So here is our quick guide to help you determine the best way to create a good schedule for your toddler.

How Many Hours of Sleep?

The rule of thumb when it comes to knowing the right number of hours of sleep for kids is this:

Toddlers need 11 to 14 hours of good quality sleep.

There are kids who need less while others need more. But generally, it is up to 14 hours.

This is why you can see from most schedules designed for toddlers that sleep time is very important more than anything else. 

They need naps and good night’s sleep, and the hours depend on one child to another.

But the ideal goal is to hit those hours on an average - naps and longer sleep combined.

Nap Time - What’s the Sweet Spot?

Yes, your child needs to have nap time each day. This is not even negotiable.

The nap time may be longer or shorter but it is all up to what is ideal for your child.

For instance, an hour of nap usually works for kids. It may be broken down to two (30 minutes per nap time) or a continuous one hour nap time in the afternoon.

Many toddlers react positively when they get their one hour nap after having lunch while others tend to nap an hour after lunch.

Either way, just be sure to check what works perfectly for your little one. It is a matter of trial and error for first-time parents, so make it a point to really check what brings better results to your child and take it from there. 

Bedtime and Wake Up Time - An Important Piece of a Toddler Schedule

When creating a toddler schedule, you need to determine the time for bed and time to get up, then you can work out the other details after getting this piece set up.

Since the average toddler gets 12 to 14 hours of sleep (and it actually brings good results), then you can set 7:30 or 8 AM as the wake-up time and 7:30 or 8 PM as the bedtime. 

Again, you need to consider other factors when determining the perfect bedtime. Other parents worry about their toddler waking up early, so it may help to put their children to sleep a little later. 

This habit may encourage their kids to get up not so early, which helps parents who want some quiet time by themselves during the wee hours of the morning.

Then, there is the concern with parents’ work schedules. You may want to be there for your kids during bedtime but you don’t come home until 7 PM. In this case, bedtime at 8:30 PM may help, and your child will definitely love having you there before she dozes off.

Just be sure that if she sleeps late, she also wakes up late. Otherwise, she may end up waking up cranky and grumpy because of insufficient sleep.

Important Things to Note about Playtime for Toddlers

Playtime is an essential part of your toddler’s daily routine.

Play sparks and nurtures creativity, imagination, and a general sense of well-being in kids.

This is why they should always be given a chance to play as this is important for their physical, mental, emotional, and social development.

As for the question about independent or social playtime, you need to be able to give a balance of both to your little one.

For instance, an hour a day of alone playtime or independent playtime can help with allowing her to explore her imagination and creativity.

Then, by the afternoon, you may let her play with kids her age or with a caregiver or with you, which will help foster social well-being. 

Play activities that are suitable for toddlers include building blocks, puzzles, board games, and other age-appropriate games.

A walk in the park or riding a bicycle is another fun activity that your child should experience each day, as these are excellent ways to give her some exercise to strengthen her body while being out in nature more.

If you have a pet, maybe you can also let her play with your dog or cat, or teach her how to take care of these furry pals.

Learning about responsibility at a young age is something that your little one can definitely benefit from in the future.

Conclusion

Creating an excellent toddler schedule may seem tough but with these tips, you will be able to do it without any problem at all. 

Just be sure to take into account your child’s unique needs and have these covered when you create a schedule that will help your toddler the best way possible. 

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