The 5 Components For A Predictable Toddler Daily Routine
When I started staying home with my daughter full-time, I realized the same nagging question came popping up every day.
The question that constantly plagued me was, “What do I do with my toddler ALL day?”
As a teacher, I constantly had my day scheduled to make things predictable for my students. What I didn’t have was a daily toddler routine that helped my daughter and I.
I realized that chunking our day into predictable categories always helped our days flow better. So, why couldn’t I do that for my daughter and I at home?
That’s when I realized that instead of sticking to a strict schedule, having a daily rhythm with the same 5 components was the only way that our days would flow to create a predictable toddler daily routine that was stress free.
The 5 Components For A Daily Toddler Routine:
Once I adopted this new way of thinking of our daily toddler routine, I knew that our days had more of a purpose and I could give myself grace for what we got to every day.
These components are to be thought of as a guide and a way to help you find your daily rhythm with your own kids. Not something you should feel forced to do it if it doesn’t meet the needs of your own family.
What are the 5 components for a predictable daily toddler routine?
- Reading Time
- Independent Play
- Outside Time
- Focused Time
- Quality Time
Now that you have an idea of our 5 components for a daily toddler routine, let’s break each component down and see how you can fit it into your days at home.
1. Reading Time
Reading time is one of my favorite things to do with my daughter and why it is a large part of our daily routine. I love reading with her snuggled up on the couch and I know there are so many benefits to doing this with her every day.
If you are looking for ways to keep your toddler engaged in reading time, these tips may help.
- Let your child choose the books they read with you
- Model the desired behavior (even if your child walks away to do something else!)
- Make reading time interactive
- Keep books on display and easily accessible
If you are looking for ways to incorporate reading time into your daily routine I may be able to help! We love to read together during breakfast and before rest and bedtime.
2. Independent Play
The ability for our toddlers to play on their own is so important. Play is like a muscle that needs to be worked to get stronger. It’s a hard skill for our kids to learn but given the right tools it’s so valuable.
Not only is it beneficial for our littles but it is also SO needed as parents who may need a little break in the day or just a moment to catch your breath, shower, cook, work, etc. That’s why independent play is the cornerstone of our daily toddler routine.
Our children gain so much while they play independently but I would be lying to you if I said it was always easy to get to the point of independent success.
In order to help kickstart your child’s independent play, I have some tips for you that may be helpful.
5 Keys To Independent Play:
1. Connection First: the only way our little ones will become confident and engaged in their own play, is if we connect with them first.
2. Make Time For Play: it’s so easy to let the fast paced daily life get in the way of allowing our children to enjoy their play. Try and schedule specific time throughout the day where independent play is a must. Maybe that’s during quiet time or after meals while you’re cleaning up.
3. Keep Toys and Materials Accessible: if your play space doesn’t allow for your littles to be able to access their own toys and materials, it will be difficult to build that independence.
4. Try Not To Interrupt: I will say this one doesn’t come naturally to most of us! But it’s essential to keep your child playing without hovering or constantly praising or directing our little one’s play. Let them solve their own problems while they’re still close to you.
5. Refresh Your Play Space: See your little one uninterested in their play space? Try changing it up! Rearrange furniture, put out toys in the forefront that they’re interested in, or create different areas for specific kinds of play.
3. Outside Time
Outside time as part of our daily routine is so important. The benefits of outdoor play for our little ones is so vast. It helps develop motor skills, self awareness, perseverance, and improved relationships. We try to get outside in some capacity every day as part of our daily routine for this reason.
If you need a new idea to get inspired to head outside, here are some of our favorites!
Outside time ideas:
- Nature treasure hunt and sort
- DIY shape corn hole game with chalk
- Soapy water sensory bin
- Bring your art project outside
- Nature sink and float
- Magnetic Tiles on the garage door
- Bring Your Sensory Bins Outside
- Paint Your Collected Nature Items
- Create and outdoor obstacle course
Focused toddler time is necessary for us but may not fit your needs. This component for us is when we do our more structured activities. I like to do one maybe two planned learning activities together to help my daughter reach important milestones since we are learning at home this year. This also includes our Mommy Playschool that we do twice a week with our friends.
For the activities that we use during our focused time, most if not all are a part of my Toddler Learn and Play Curriculum that can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here!
The skills that we work on at home vary but are guided by our Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards.
We focus on standards from these categories:
- early literacy
- early math
- social/emotional development
- social studies
5. Quality Time
Quality time looks different for each family but it’s pretty much a nonnegotiable for us. It could be some free play after dinner or a board game but it’s time spent together with few interruptions. Simply incorporating 10 minutes of uninterrupted play time together where your toddler chooses the activity is a great way to spend quality time together.
If you are looking for more activity ideas for quality time that use items you already have around your house, sign up for our email list to get your free 55 play prompts!
I would love to know if there is a different component that you would add to this for your daily toddler routine!