Until the age of three, my son was still not settling in any particular pattern or a daily routine. Most of the times he slept late, had longer afternoon naps and hardly had any regular meal timings. This worried me as I knew he would be starting pre -school soon. After talking to a few mothers, I finally decided to chart out a routine. I divided his day in 4 parts- Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Night.
Even though an ideal wake up time differs between families; I consider anything between 6 am-7 am as the perfect time to wake up your child. Set an alarm and keep reinstating the ‘Wake up time’ throughout the day. The early morning activities like brushing, potty should be the next steps followed by milk. Most parents prefer giving their kids a bath first and then breakfast. And some parents vice versa.
Talk about how they would want to spend their afternoon. Provide them with choice of their favourite activities. Give them the power to decide.
Afternoons are the best time to engage in independent creative activities. I used to engage my son in a lot of cutting & pasting activities, play dough, building blocks for over an hour. This helped him learn as well as kept him busy too. Planning indoor play dates is also a good idea. It encourages the art of sharing and increases the child’s sociability factor. The little ones start getting hungry and cranky by 1 pm, that being the best time to serve them lunch. And after that it’s time for their nap. Nap duration can be anything between 1-3 hours depending on how soon kids get rejuvenated.
Naps are important. It is also crucial for the mental and physical development of the child.
This is the time to hit the outdoors. Usually 5 pm-7 pm are ideal outdoor timings considering the weather. Parks, cycling, skating, ball games, walking the dog are great ways to channelize the energy and also engaging the kids in structured play. It’s a good way to get the physical exercise as well as making them learn about appropriate community behaviour. By 6.30 pm-7 pm it’s time to bring them back to their comfort zone. So head back home and make them wash away the dirt with a warm shower.
Parks are the cheapest and an easy accessible place to have a fun time.
Dinner time for families with young toddlers should be early. After their park and shower time, kids are hungry and dinner should be served to them between 8 pm-9 pm. Setting up the mood for bedtime is also important. Activities like changing into night pyjamas, straightening the bed, dimming the lights, reading the favourite bed time story can be initiated. Also use this time to recap the day and set targets for the next day.
Night times are best to have the most interesting conversations with your child.
There is no one perfect routine mommies. So create one according to your child’s needs. Draw out a Daily Routine Chart and put it up on the fridge.
But remember, the idea is to facilitate and not force the child to live in a certain pattern. So make sure there is scope of a little flexibility in the time table.
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