I’ve found there are a few things that make a mama’s eye twitch. Usually the trigger words are “sleep training,” and “routine.” There are the mamas that swear their tiny babe is on a routine and sleeping through the night and their’s the rest of us that are crying caffeinated tears. For whatever reason I could never figure out a schedule with Evelyn for the first 15 months of her life. I tried recording her natural rhythms (when she was hungry, when she napped) but I couldn’t find a consistent pattern. Maybe it was because I was a new mom and didn’t have the understanding or self assuredness to put her down for a nap even if she was fighting it at first. Maybe it’s because I was resisting a routine myself because I was used to being able to go run an errand when I wanted to and didn’t want to be chained to a schedule. Maybe it was a little bit of all three.
Anyway, somehow at 16 months a routine finally formed. It was the first day she’d ever taken a 2.5 hour nap. She took her usual 30 to hour long nap and then started crying. Because we were so exhausted we didn’t get up right away to get her… and then the most miraculous thing happened… she went back to sleep! Ever since then, I am on board with a routine – even if that means we have to adjust our plans around her nap time… because if it means I’m getting a 2+ hour break every afternoon I am 100% OK with that.
As Evelyn enters toddlerhood, i’m seeing more and more how important a routine is for both of us. I need a game plan so I don’t lose my mind throughout the day with a toddler literally bouncing off the walls. And Evelyn needs several activities and consistency to help her feel secure when everything else around her is constantly changing!
I’ve had some questions about her routine that’s working for us so I wanted to share our schedule below. Hope it helps!
7:30am wakeup – milk, diaper change & snuggles
7:30 – 8:30am play time with toys
I set out select toys the night before so it’s always a “new” offering. One of the perks to both parents being “stay at home” is Tim and I alternate mornings. One of us gets up with her and the other one gets an extra hour of sleep.
8:30-9am – make & eat breakfast
E helps make her own breakfast. I give her options and she picks what she wants out of the fridge. She feels really proud to help prep her meals and it usually means she’ll eat the food in front of her too.
9-9:30 – Family gets dressed and ready to go
The deal E has made with us is she’ll be chill until 9:30. But at 9:30 all bets are off and hell have no fury like an E who doesn’t have her “shoes! shoes!” on to go “bye-bye!”
9:30 – 11:45 Outdoor activity or outing
Some of our regular activities include: Playground, toddler story time at a local library, painting outdoors, playing with her water table.
11:45- Come in and wash hands
Evelyn is PISSED when I bring her inside but she LOVES water play. So immediately going to let her wash her hands in the bathroom helps distract from a tantrum. After her hands are washed I’ll give her a bottle and we cuddle and read a book. **Evelyn is SUPER active and it’s hard to get her to sit still to read a book. I’ve found that after outings and when she has a bottle I can sneak sneak in a few books with her and she’s OK being chill.
12- lunch or snack (up to her how hungry she is)
12:30 -1 – Independent play time for E, trailer pickup for Mom
If we’ve had a busy morning outdoors she’s usually content to do some independent play while I clean up the trailer from the morning rush & catch up on the breakfast and lunch dishes. I rotate out her toys on a regular basis so there’s always something “new” in her room to play with. I may also give her a new toy from the dollar store to keep her occupied.
11 – 2:45 – Nap
I put her down awake, she’ll usually talk to her dolls for a little bit and then go down. She’ll scream and fight me but as soon as I’ve shut the door she’s happy to have some quiet time in her pack-n-play before falling asleep. If she wakes up before 2 I don’t go in. Usually she has a sleep cycle an hour in and will wake up, cry for a few minutes and then sleep for another HOUR. So mamas, give your little ones at least 10 minutes before going in to get them if their nap is under an hour.
3 – lunch or snack depends on how hungry she is
3 – 4:45 – Second outing of the day
Sightseeing, outside craft activity that I’ve prepped during her nap (glueing shapes, DIY play dough, sensory table play, painting), playground, family bike ride, going to the pool, etc.
5-5:45 – Independent play
If we’ve had a busy day out and about then most of the time she’s down to play in the kitchen with her toy kitchen set and I’ll lay out some pots, pans and measuring cups for her. 10% of the time I have to give her the iPad to be able to cook dinner without her hanging on my leg.
5:45 – family dinner time
She started refusing her high chair and we’ve set up a weaning table and she loves it. She brings her plate to her table and sits and eats next to our dinette. Tim & I will eat then as well.
6:15 – 7:15- Family wind down time
Every other day she’ll get a bath. I play this classical music playlist on amazon music to start to cue her that it’s wind down time before bed. We’ll play in her room, read books, play peek-a-boo for 30 minutes straight… sigh.
7:15 – 7:30 – Get ready for bed
We brush teeth, read books, turn on her sound machine, last sip of water, hugs and kisses and I put her down in her pack n play. I sing her a few songs as she settles in and then we walk out of the room.
7:30pm – FREEDOM