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One thing I’ve learned raising three kids is that toddlers love structure. They enjoy doing everything in moderation, and it’s fascinating to see their emotional development when they get used to a routine. Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find a routine that works for your toddler and your family, so I wanted to share our current toddler morning routine and a few tips for developing your own.
Our toddler morning routine.
Start with Hygiene.
My toddler is two years old and still in diapers, so the first thing we do when she wakes up after hugs is changing her diaper.
With a fresh diaper, the next step is to wash her face, hands, and brush her teeth. She loves brushing her teeth, so she tries to linger some morning, but I try to keep her on task.
Fuel up with Breakfast.
My toddler runs straight to the kitchen after cleaning up because she knows the next step is to eat breakfast. She can be a bit of a picky eater, but these days she loves yogurt, avocados, eggs, whole grain waffles, bananas, and/or oatmeal for breakfast. She loves to have a few options.
Clear the table.
After breakfast, we clear the table together. She loves to help, and she feels responsible and proud whenever she can assist me.
Next, I set up an activity for my toddler; she loves to paint, so she paints almost every morning using her tabletop easel. When she doesn’t paint, she colors her in coloring books, or doodles on her art pad. She’s not really into crafts yet, but on a rare occasion, we do an easy craft together. She’s been really developing her fine motor skills by doing some art daily.
Our toddler morning routine wouldn’t be complete without some free playtime. My two year old usually empties one of the baskets of toys on the living room floor to find her favorite toys of the day to play. She loves racing cars, playing with dinosaurs, styling dolls, hair, and stacking blocks. She also loves to play with her sibling toys, and I don’t fuss about it. It’s truly free playtime.
We clean up the toys to move on to some learning. Since she’s only two learning is through structured play. We do puzzles, work through her words books together, play with her alphabet magnets, learn shapes and colors, or listen and dance along to preschool songs.
I give her a little free time once I see her losing interest in our learning activity. Sometimes we clean up together, and other days she goes off to play with another toy. Some days she gets screen time on her Amazon Kids Fire Edition. Since she’s only two so I set the tablet’s time limit for 20 minutes.
By this time, she’s all worn out and ready for a nap. She likes eating her lunch after she naps, so I read her a book. She usually falls asleep at this time for her nap, and I get busy working.
Once she wakes up, we move on to lunch and our afternoon routine. Since she’s starting preschool in September, my goal is to get her used to routines and structure in the classroom setting. Having a set morning routine also helps me as a WAHM to schedule my day.
Tips for establishing a toddler morning routine.
As I mentioned above, a toddler morning routine will start with trial and error. I had to determine what would work best for our family, and this stuck. So here are a few tips for establishing your toddler morning routine:
- Keep your child’s personality in mind. Does your child like to move through different tasks quickly or at a slower pace? How is your child usually when he/she wakes up?
- Build based on your child’s interests. We paint because my daughter loves it and it seems to calm her and make her happy. If she’s didn’t enjoy it, it wouldn’t be a part of our daily routine. Take note of what your child loves and do that.
- Based on your lifestyle. I am a WAHM, so my schedule is flexible but I still have to work to pay the bills. If you work out of the home or you’re a SAHM, your mornings may look a bit different than mine.
- Keep tweaking your toddler morning routine until you discover what works best for your family.
I hope this post is helpful! Remember having a morning routine is essential to your toddler’s development.