Establishing a Toddler Routine – Why and How We Are Doing it

October 2, 2017 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Raising a Parent

Establishing a Toddler Routine - Why and How We Are Doing it - Baby & Beyond

Toddlers do not still understand the concept of time in terms of days, hours and minutes, but they understand when certain events follow a specific pattern or routine. For example, washing hands before mealtime, naptime after lunch etc. Structured toddler routine and gives a sense of predictability and stability. This in turn makes them feel secure, when they know and expect what is going to happen next.


My toddler goes to daycare and he has a fixed schedule there: circle time, book time, rhymes, free play, lunch and then go home. So though he cannot read the clock or understand the concept of 1pm, when it is nearing 1pm, he gets up on his own and heads to the table to eat. And as soon as his lunch is done, he knows it is time to go home so he stands near the door and says “mamma, mamma”. It makes him feel secure knowing that I will be there everyday at the same time to pick him up and he knows that time has come because lunch is done with.


After seeing how well he settled at daycare, I have started applying the same concept to his whole day now, to give him a structured routine and a sense of stability and security. Also knowing how his day is going to pan out also gives me the freedom to plan my own day better.


Establishing a Toddler Routine - Why and How We Are Doing it | Baby & Beyond

Establishing a Toddler Routine – Why and How We Are Doing it | Baby & Beyond


These are a few things we follow to establish routine:


1. Break each event into a series of activities and follow the same sequence of activities every dayFor example, bath time is broken into take vitamins, brush teeth, try to pee (yes we are in the toilet training phase), then bath, followed by applying lotion, wearing diaper and clothes, then brushing hair…always in this order. Bedtime means freshening up and changing into pyjamas, book time, drinking milk while listening to soft music and then going to sleep. We also plan these activities at more-or-less fixed times during the day so that he knows what is coming next.

2. Fix meal times and as far as possible keep these at the same time as when the family eats. This is not just good for establishing routine but also encourages children to eat better.

3. Reinforce the routine through books, rhymes, games etc. One of our favourite rhymes to sing in the morning is “Here we go round the mulberry bush” which helps a child learn morning time routine – wash our face, brush our teeth, take a bath, get dressed, eat breakfast and off to school. We also read books such as “My First Day and Night Book and “The Going to Bed Book”. 

4. Stick to the routine as much as possible. If we have to be traveling during mealtime, I ensure I carry food along for him to eat on the way. Or if we have to be out at nap time, I take along my carrier so that his nap schedule doesn’t get disturbed.

5. This may seem like a contradiction to the previous point, but we try not to get too obsessive about schedule either. Though sticking to routine is important, we are fairly flexible too. With a toddler there will always be days when everything gets thrown off because of teething, growth spurts, regressions or just plain toddler tantrums. In fact almost every weekend when there is no daycare and when his dad is at home, his entire schedule goes for a toss because all he wants to do it play with his papa. At such times we have to forget the clock ourselves and just go with the flow, so long as the next day we start afresh and try to get back on track.


So these are a few tricks we have been using with some bit of success ourselves. I hope they help you too. Do you think it is important to set up a routine for your toddler? What worked or did not work for you? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.


I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge. This post is for the 2nd October prompt: “Pattern”.


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  1. Leo said on October 2, 2017 5:12 pm:

    I know this is true, because I’ve seen my neighbor do it while her daughters were growing up. 🙂 Very important to get that routine set, I think. Though one may be tempted to pamper them too.

  2. Apeksha Rao said on October 2, 2017 5:40 pm:

    A very well-written, informative post. I’ll keep your tips in mind, when dealing with my twins. ?

  3. keerthi vydyula said on October 2, 2017 6:09 pm:

    Though i cannot relate much about the pattern i can understand its importance. Will share this informative post to new mommy to be in my friend group. Good luck for the challenge 🙂

  4. Sreedeep said on October 2, 2017 6:12 pm:

    That was a nice read. Being the father of two boys, I understand how important it is to establish a comfortable routine for them. I think you nailed those points to be followed. A great start to the challenge!

  5. SHALINI BAISIWALA said on October 3, 2017 8:20 am:

    Its so important to regualte a childs daily life into the set pattern of routine; not just for her to be independent and comfortable but for the Mom too, to lead a balanced life of her own! Great Tips here Mahak
    Monetarily up yours #writingbravely

  6. Ashwini Dodani said on October 3, 2017 3:10 pm:

    I think it’s very important to set a pace and routine which builds the mind to follow for the day. I have seen my nephew in that phase. 🙂 A great piece.

  7. Zainab said on October 3, 2017 8:53 pm:

    A routine is very important from r the child! I feel once in awhile it’s ok to break the pattern … but yeah setting sleep time, meal times goes a long way! 🙂

  8. Anjana said on October 4, 2017 1:13 am:

    Routine works like a charm with children and I have seen my children actually look forward to their everyday routines. Nice one! 🙂

  9. Nibha Gupta said on October 4, 2017 7:02 am:

    An important read and a good habit to inculcate in the kids rights from the start so that they can grow up to be more disciplined. Great handful of trips for the new-age moms!

  10. Sheethal Susan Jacob said on October 4, 2017 9:57 am:

    Thou don’t have much knowledge in this pattern, I believe it’s important to set a pattern while growing up. It ensures that everything is taken care of and nothing unexpected is given to the little ones at the most unexpected time for them.

  11. Shalini said on October 4, 2017 10:02 am:

    Oh I have seen this with my cousins! Great tips there! 🙂

  12. Anchal said on October 4, 2017 2:38 pm:

    I have literally lived the way the baby wanted this first year. He has set his own schedule. I am planning to make some changes and see how that helps. Will take reference from your post.

  13. karuna chauhan said on October 5, 2017 12:03 am:

    I absolutely agree. if not for a routine it would have been impossible even for me to plan my day. Sticking to these pointers has truly helped us! great list Mahek!

  14. Alpana Deo said on October 5, 2017 1:24 am:

    Yes, with toddlers maintaining a routine is very important. That how they know what’s coming next. Too much of experiment do not work.with that age group. When my daughter was young, we used to sing twinkle twinkle as the last rhyme and that was a sign for her that now it’s sleep time.

  15. Jinal Gada said on October 6, 2017 12:55 am:

    Oh mumma our thoughts match.. I am guessing you are a Waldorf mommy?

    1. Baby & Beyond said on October 9, 2017 11:06 am:

      No in fact I do not know too much about the Waldorf system. Maybe my ideologies just happen to match the way the system is structured.

  16. Shalu Sharma Rathod said on October 6, 2017 7:42 pm:

    I am thankful to someone sensible like you who guided me with same advice when my daughters were just a few months old. Thankfully we got into routines & lour life has ever since been so sorted. This article is going to be very useful for all new mommies struggling to get some sleep & me time!

  17. Manisha Garg said on October 7, 2017 5:56 pm:

    This is very informative and very important to. This will help the kids o understand things much easily. Will keep this for reference.

  18. Anubhuti Seth said on October 7, 2017 7:01 pm:

    Completely is important to follow the set routine. It majorly helped me in making my boy sleep on time.

  19. kavita said on October 9, 2017 10:28 am:

    I am in the process of potty training my toddler too and I am definitely going to try this routine thingy as well. I am sure it is easier for kids as well to understand when it the time to eat or sleep. Thank you for sharing this 🙂