Toddlers can be full on but one of the things that make it easier is when they are kept intentionally busy throughout the day. And yet they can be quite demanding so it is hard to balance all the needs of different individuals in the family. One of the tools that help is to have a routine.
A routine is a pattern of activities repeated daily.
A routine enables us to manage our time purposefully.
A routine gives us time to do the training that is important to us.
The important thing to do before developing a routine is to consider what goals you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve these. These goals change as our children grow and develop new skills so we always need to be ready to tweak and change our routine.
The main aspects that we want our little Toddler to grow in at the moment, are focus and self control. I can use various times in our day, various activities to teach her and allow her time to practice these things. Some activities will happen roughly around the same time every day but other activities will have to fit in and around the rest of the family.
I have several main activities that I want to include in the days she is with me (because we are respite carers she will have some days at daycare throughout the week) :
- Cot time – 30minutes a day, where she plays with a few toys in her cot
- Highchair time – 5-10minutes a day, where she’ll play with an activity that needs a table top.
- Outside time – 10 minutes a day, where she plays by herself outside (I’ll read a book, or do the laundry outside during this time)
- Structured play – 10minutes a day, where we do an activity together (we may repeat the same activity in the afternoon)
- Nap time – 2-3 hours a day, depending on what else is going on in her life, and in ours
- Reading time – 2-3 times a day where we pick up a book and read together
These timings are what we are aiming for in our house – they aren’t ‘ideal’ times for everyone to aim for – this is our training ‘regime’ for the next 31 days. Some of these activities she can already do by herself, though for most she needs guidance and encouragement in order to stay on track. This means that I will look at our family’s routine and find times where I am most free from distraction and use those time to focus with Toddler.
Do you fill your toddler’s day with purpose?
Balancing Homeschooling and Toddler
This is where teaching your older kids to be able to study and work on their own becomes so important. If the older children can do 20-30-60 minutes on their own, then we have time to focus with the little one’s training. When my kids were little we left the intense instruction activities (learning to read and math) to the times when the baby of the house was having their naps or cot time. These days, my kids do their math and writing independently so it won’t be affected by having a toddler in the house.