A while back I posted about our daily schedule. I mentioned that I love to go on Pinterest and see how other toddler mamas schedule their day. I love the idea of a well-scheduled day that goes exactly as I have written down. However, any mom can tell you, that is not realistic. Children are very unpredictable and you never know what the day will throw at you. I’m going to share a few tips that I hope will help you as you think about your own daily schedule.
Think more “Routine” and less “Schedule”:
You have to think of it more as a routine instead of a schedule. I have noticed with my son (and from briefly studying early childhood development in collage) that most children thrive on routines. They feel comfortable when they know what comes next. (I have even noticed that just by telling my son what we are doing next, he transitions easier than if I were to spring something on him all of the sudden. For example, he was having trouble with leaving us to go to the nursery on Sundays. I started telling him as we were walking into church that he was going to go play in the nursery with the other kids and we noticed that he seemed to transition better when I told him what was going on.) I have made this a habit in our daily lives by taking a minute to tell him what we are going to do next.
Flexibly is Key:
While I do have a very detailed looking daily schedule for us, the most important thing I have to remember is to be flexible! Everything on that schedule could change. I do usually keep meals and bedtime the same as much as I possibly can, but even those occasionally change up depending on what happens that day. For example, we both got sick last week and our days looked nothing like what I have written below. We rested as much as possible and ended up watching way too many cartoons.
Let go of the Comparison and Guilt:
We all do it. We all see another mama who looks like she has it all together and her life and schedule just seem to flow so easily and you start to compare your life and schedule to what little you know about hers. You start to feel like a failure because your schedule is not like hers. DON’T DO THIS, MAMA! There is probably so much you don’t know about her daily life. Even if you do happen to know this person (maybe your sister or a close friend) and you know what goes on every day, you still should not be comparing your life to hers.
There are so many different stages of motherhood and if you are in a totally different stage, you might not be able to do some of the things she does. When my son was younger, I would never have considered waking up early to get a head start on my day like I do now (see my morning routine here). I was simply trying to get as much sleep everyday as possible, haha. You really just have to sit down and figure out what stage you are in and what works best for you and your baby.
And, mama, please give yourself some grace. Do not feel guilty if your day is not very structured. Your baby really just needs you to be there to love him or her. Do what you can and don’t feel like you are not as successful or that you are not a good mom because your day looks different than this schedule here below or it is different from your sister who is in a different stage of motherhood. You got this, mama!
Ok, so here is what our daily schedule looks like now for my soon to be two year old.
Our (very flexible) Daily Schedule:
7:00- Wake up / Nurse, diaper change, get dressed
7:20- Play in kitchen or living room with toys (mama makes breakfast)
8:30-9:00- Independent Floor Play (mama cleans up from breakfast)
9:00-10:30- Errands/ Learning Activity (Preschool)/ Craft/ Outside Play/ Park
10:30- Watch show (mama makes lunch)
11:30- Clean up, low-key activity while mama cleans up lunch, Read book together, get ready for nap
12:00-2:30- (Give or take…still working on a good long nap time) Nap
I try to at least make sure he rests even if he wakes up early from his nap. So I just came up with a few things on my schedule for him to do after he wakes up.
- watch a show and have a snack
- puzzles/ blocks/ hands-on activity
- preschool activity
- outdoor play/ walk
4:00- Dinner Prep (Depending on how grumpy he is at this time I will either have him watch a show while I do dinner or he loves to pull up a chair and watch me in the kitchen. Bonus points if I give him a bowl and something to mix!)
5:30- Clean up while Dada gives him a bath and gets him ready for bed
6:00- Play with Dada
6:20- Clean up toys
6:30- Say prayers and nurse in his room
And that’s it! I hope that this will help you as you try to make up your own flexible daily schedule. Please feel free to ask me in the comments below if you have any questions.