There are lots of reasons why Baby could benefit from having a few routines in her daily schedule. Routines give Baby a chance to learn new skills, to start practicing self-control, and to develop a healthy sense of self-confidence and security. That’s not to mention the fact that these routines could help your day with Baby run more smoothly, too!
What are some good routines for a toddler?
Not every routine will work for every family and schedule, but if you could use a little inspiration, here are some ideas of routines to consider implementing into your toddler’s week.
- Cuddle time in the morning: Starting Baby‘s day with some cuddle time, or even a simple hug and kiss, gives the two of you a chance to enjoy each other’s company without the distractions that come as the day goes on. It will also give you both the chance to start the day off with something sweet!
- Regular outside play: Outside playtime will help Baby get stronger, sleep better, maintain a healthy appetite, and explore and learn about her surroundings. Natural sunshine boosts Baby‘s vitamin D production; studies also show that outdoor play can protect children’s immune systems and have positive effects on their mood. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that toddlers be allowed 60 to 90 minutes of outdoor play each day, weather permitting.
- Hand washing: Baby has a lot of learning and playing to do, and no extra time to get sick. Hand-washing is the first line of defense against the pesky germs that have the potential to spread illness. Emphasize good hand-washing guidelines around Baby, and make sure to wash your hands together after either of you has been outside, been in the bathroom, or if you’re about to eat.
- Read books together at bedtime: This is a great way to spend some time together at the end of the day, and reading simple books aloud to Baby encourages her language development.
- Toddler-sized responsibilities: There are a lot of things that Baby can’t do at this age, but then again, there are also a lot of things they can do. Asking Baby for help can make transitions go more smoothly for her as well as get her used to pitching in. Give Baby small jobs like pulling weeds in the garden, putting toys away, or placing lighter foods on the conveyor belt at the grocery store.
Don’t strive for perfection, but do try to make things fun! At this age, habits are for giving Baby some structure, helping her feel a little more in control of her environment, and allowing her to develop self-esteem.
- “Establishing Morning Routines for Children.” AOTA. The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc., 2013. Web.
- “Supporting Outdoor Play and Exploration for Infants and Toddlers.” eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov. Early Head Start National Resource Center, US Department of Health and Human Services, 2013. Web.
- “Why is Hand Washing so important?” KidsHealth. The Nemours Foundation, 2017. Web.
- “How to Help Your Child Transition Smoothly Between Places and Activities.” challengingbehavior.fmhi.fsu.edu. Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention (TACSEI), 2011. Web.