Daily Routine with a Toddler


We are back! It has been an eternity! Between the end of the school year, plenty of travels, and a horrible run-in with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, it has been ages since my last post, and I’m so sorry for it but #lifehappens and I couldn’t be happier to be back! School’s out for the summer (and hard to believe almost over), so this teacher mama is keeping busy with preschool at home and all the chores I’m regularly too tired to keep up with during the school year. Yes, you read correctly: preschool at home! If you follow me on Instagram (@dumpydiapers), you've heard me chat a bit about it. I’m thrilled to get to spend time teaching my little guy and watching him learn so quickly and truly enjoy it, and could think of nothing better than to inspire you to give it a try, too. 

I wanted to share a sample of the daily routine we {try to} implement with our little nugget to get him through the day happy, healthy and active. I want to emphasize that we try- each day presents its own unique challenges and “que haceres” as we like to say, or “to do’s”- so we stick to it whenever possible, but like every aspect of parenting, we have to have plenty of flexibility. If you plan to try a similar routine out at home, I highly suggest you keep the same in mind! We usually follow the same sequence each day, but I let my son set the rhythm as far as when his day starts (no alarms during summer) and when we transition into each part of the day, so long as nothing is pressing us to move along (such as a play date, appointment, mealtime or nap time).

We start each morning with cuddles! We hang out in our pajamas for a few minutes to completely wake up and spend some time connecting. Once everyone is feeling energized and ready to go, we brush teeth and head to the kitchen for some breakfast. We usually indulge in some morning cartoons while we eat. Nothing truly special about the start of our day. The magic comes once breakfast is done!

As soon as bubs is done eating, we transition into our learning time (usually still in PJs as you can see here). We begin with greeting- a time to work on social skills with lots of music and dancing to add some fun! If you are familiar with preschool curriculums, this is the time often referred to as Circle Time; but one-on-one at home, there’s no circle, so we just warm up with hello! We sing a song to say, “¡Buenos días!” “Good morning!” and a few other songs to unite us as well as to enrich whatever concepts we’re learning about in our theme for the week. I always keep eye contact engaged, which is a super important fundamental social skill, and add some hand motions to go along with whatever the songs are about; it ups the fun factor and meets the need for movement in that little body! I could go on about this for days, but I’ll spare you and make that a separate post to come soon.

Once we’re all sung and danced out (which with my music loving guy takes about 20 minutes), we settle down for an activity. I created a curriculum for our little dude based on the milestones he should be mastering age and achievement-wise, using this Early Childhood Development Chart. We swear by it in my school district and used it to develop our preschool progress reports, so if it’s good enough for that, it’s definitely good enough for this mama! How I use this chart to guide the activities is yet another area that takes a bit more explaining and will drag this post out, so for time’s sake I’ll share more later and link it back here. 

Pom-pom color sorting activity to go with our transportation theme last week

Pom-pom color sorting activity to go with our transportation theme last week

I try to create (or Pinterest the heck out of) activities that take about 5 minutes, because that’s about as long as Noah can handle non-preferred things at his age (~20 months). However, the majority of the time I’ve been very lucky and he has enjoyed playing with something for much longer or come back and wanted to repeat an activity later. I also will correlate the activities with our theme for the week, whether it’s farm animals, transportation, etc. Once I guide him through whatever he’s working on, we break for free time. This is usually when I try to get stuff done around the house or spend some time on Instagram/Amazon/Pinterest/other place of motherhood magic while buddy plays independently. Otherwise, it’s the time we’ll usually head out of the house for anything we need to do such as errands, groceries, playdates, etc. We usually have a span of about 1-2 hours before it’s time for lunch and nap.

Reading time is a favorite around these parts.

Reading time is a favorite around these parts.

When little guy is up from his nap, he grabs a snack, after which I sometimes try to squeeze in a second activity that’s just-for-fun and not theme, curriculum or goal related, like crafting or just reading a few books together. This is followed up with more free play, and I usually get to cooking or prepping for my husband to do so around this time. Dinner or unwinding usually follow, depending on who is home and what our energy levels are. If everyone is home early, we usually unwind first by going outside or watching TV together. If it’s just the little guy and I, we prefer to have our dinner earlier. Afterwards, the late evening is my favorite time to work in Noah’s room organizing and storing clothes and toys (which he’s outgrowing constantly) while he does quiet things like read books or play with puzzles, and we listen to more music. Easy time for Disney indoctrination for this obsessed mama! 

Time tends to go quickly in the mornings because they’re so busy, but the evenings are usually enjoyably slow. After our time settling down, we usually flow into bedtime routine with bath time, story time, prayers and lullabies before little bud shuts his eyes for the night, usually at 9pm during the school year or 11pm in the summer. Many sleep experts disagree, but we have found it to be true in the case of our kid that putting him to bed later leads to him sleeping in later in the mornings. He always gets his 11-12 hours unless we are traveling, so thankfully it’s a nonissue in our home with our firstborn. This doesn’t work for everyone, so if you already have a bedtime routine in place that works, don’t fix what’s not broken! If not, it may be worth a try in your home.

And there you have it folks! To wrap up, I wanted to give you an easy visual to summarize everything I covered as well as to help guide you throughout your day if you choose to implement a routine similar to ours, so I’m giving you this printable as a parting gift! I encourage you to use the space provided to jot down your own ideas or to-do's, and color-coded it to denote mealtime and bedtime routines (aqua), times for guided learning one-on-one with your kiddo (green), and free times for pretty much anything, whether you're at home or on the go (orange). Another thing to love about this printable- it can come in super handy for acquainting others with your child's routine, like a nanny, new babysitter, or family member who is new to watching your baby. 

I want to add that though this chart is definitely geared toward the stay-at-home or work-from-home mom, it is totally adaptable for working moms! I plan to kind of flip-flop the schedule once school starts again and do my morning learning routine (greeting + guided theme activity)  during the late afternoon play time slot, so if you're a working mama, this is definitely for you, too. I hope you gained some insight into how to keep days productive for yourself and your babes! If you have any further questions, I would love to hear them below.

Happy mommin',

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Lifestyle, Tips & TricksJulio Oviedoenjoythelittlethings, littlepiecesofchildhood, gamechanger, playmatters, littlebuddy, mother, motherhoodunplugged, advice, finemotorskills, littlestoriesofmylife, cuddlebug, children, parentingblog, blessedmom, adventuresofchildren, exhausted, letthembelittle, alldayeveryday, crunchymama, baby activities, booklovers, mommylife, motherhoodalive, happybaby, havingablast, earlychildhood, momsohard, blessedbaby, baby learning, kidsactivities, babiesofig, bestofmom, bedtime routine, mothersontime, motherhood, blogpost, littleboy, artforkids, familygoals, familiareunida, crunchymom, littleeinstein, bebe, mothering, bloglovin, Toddler, toddler play, parenthoodunlocked, learning through play, handsonlearning, candidchildhood, blessedmama, Momlife, fine motor skills, toddler activities, lifehacks, momproblems, Baby schedule, earlylearning, mommyproblems, lifestyleblog, baby essentials, motherandson, mommyhood, momswithcameras, babystuff, lifesaver, lovethislife, motherhoodinspired, Parenting, parenthood, cameramama, lifehappens, fine motor activities, lifeasweknowit, imagination, baby boy, Daily routine, learningthroughplay, havingfun, playtime, playbasedlearning, how to, babiesofinstagram, Mommyhood, motherhoodmoments, mornings, parentingtips, eternalmotherhood, babyneeds, motherlylove, lifestyleblogger, toddler learning, kidsart, motherhoodsimplified, familyfriendly, dailyparenting, parentingadvice, parentingmadeeasy, bedeeplyrooted, blogmom, babyblog, childdevelopment, liveauthentic, babygram, christianmom, howto, lillearners, babestagram, childofig1 Comment