How to make your toddler daily routine work

I used to be like an overinflated balloon. A balloon that would explode at any second under the pressure of daily chaos. Any little pinch, even the most innocent or gentle pinch, would set me off.

My family could sense this too.

The more I tried to established our daily routine, the more I was frustrated.

In those three seconds, just between I would collapsed in to bed and the moment I would be out like a light, I would ask myself: “How other moms can do it? Why can I?”


Struggling with establishing toddler daily routine

I remember bringing our baby girl home from the hospital. Those first days were precious but terrifying at the same time. As a parent you for sure remember that feeling . That precious miniature human being is born, you are a parent – what now?

I also remember my husband saying, after just a week or so : “ It is not that hard as people are saying, she just sleeps and eats and poops.”

Yeah right… that time ended up to quickly.

Before we had time to turn around she stepped in her two’s – she is a toddler now!  It is not easy any more, and often, things are out of the control.

Like every mom I want to build the best foundations for my child. I want her to be confident, gentle and loving person who cares about others. I wanna provide safe environment for her to explore, play an learn.

But I have a big problem. I am not the most organized person. Nope. Not me.

In my younger days, routine was something I couldn’t live with. When I have had to work from nine to five I almost died. Every single day was same to me.

Being a parent things changed a lot. I appreciate Waldorf philosophy very much. In Waldorf, everything is about daily rhythm. Routine is essential for young children. Child needs routine in order to feel secure and grow confidence. I have ready so many books, blog posts, other mom experiences, you name it, everything in attempt to establish daily routine that works.


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Seems as a long time ago, when 9 month sleep regression hit us all of a sudden and my girl didn’t wanna sleep any more. I sat down, wrote down our daily activities, I created time frame for each activity in a day, from time we wake up until bedtime. It took couple weeks to adjust it,  but in the end, our daily routine worked as a charm. Really helped us live more peacefully and what is the most important thing, we resolved our sleeping issues and developed good sleeping habits.

Well, guess what? It didn’t last for a long time.

Related: How to get housework done with keeping your toddler happy.

Daily routine schedule can work perfect for baby, but for toddler things my be a bit different

With her growing, developing her own will, it became impossible to stick to our ‘time frame’ we followed successfully for months. With her being two (I wont say “terrible two’s” because I also believe it is perfectly normal behaviour to that developmental stage) some ordinary tasks, like putting our pyjama on in the evening, or brushing our teeth in a morning, sometimes takes twice as normal it should. And those tasks are, as you know, non negotiable. Error, group does not exist! Check your syntax! (ID: 2)

I work part-time three days a week, when she goes to daycare. I really hate when I have to rush her on those days. Even more, I hate when I have to rush her on the days when we are at home so we could keep up to our schedule. I mean, she is a child, she shouldn’t be drawn in to all that ‘time’ thing.  She should enjoy without our adult “must-do on time” things.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying here that children should be left to do whatever or whenever they want. I am just saying we should let them enjoy life, exploring, learning and playing without imposed time boundaries. It is our grown up habit to plan everything to the detail and be on a tight time schedule.

Daily routine is not about time

After I accepted the fact that we do not have to start our breakfast exactly at 8:00 am or lunch at 1:00 pm, our life became much easier. Easier and less stressful for me definitely. It is okay if we do our breakfast 20 minutes later because that morning, well, we had to brush teeth to all our plush friends too.

Exception are those days when I have to work and we really have to leave house on time. But even then I allowed ourselves to skip some things that we normally do. For example I have meals planned in a week ahead, but if we are running late I won’t make tea or cacao that morning, we will just drink water. Or I will just grab some corn flakes and yogurt instead of making scrambled eggs.

I struggled with establishing daily rhythm and routine for a long time, until it finally came to me – daily routine is not about having time framed schedule for all activities, it is all about doing things every day in the same order. I still have may daily plan for ever day in the week but I do not use scheduled times any more.

And if things are not going as we planed I allow myself to be flexible. I used to struggle with establishing our toddler daily routine, but now,  even if I still have some days when I feel like overinflated balloon, accept the fact it is more important to be calm and relaxed than stress around things.



how to make your toddler daily routine work

Lily Zunic

I believe every person is creative and every craft project is beautiful when you create for the journey of your heart.

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