Updated: Jun 17, 2020
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Click here to listen to Val's podcast episode on this topic:"When Littles are Loud:A routine that fosters growth, reduces chaos & whining, Episode 19."
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For being the tiniest bodies in the house, it’s rather ironic that they can be so LOUD. How are we to get anything done with the other kids when the littlest of the bunch seems to demand our constant attention?! Well, after seven of my own children and now enjoying some grand babies, I’ve had a few opportunities to trial and error what is important when raising toddlers and preschoolers, helping them thrive, and keeping the chaos to a minimum. After all, no family can keep chaos away all the time but there are definitely things we can do to establish relative peace, help the whole family to be a blessing to others, and our home to be a joyful place to live. I’ve divided this post into three parts. They’re in order of priority, so I hope you’ll go back to Part 1 podcast and blog, once you’ve finished reading this post. And now, on to Part II, When Littles are Loud: Scheduling Your Little’s Day.
Children of all ages tend to be happier, better behaved, and quicker to learn from their environment when their day has a predictable schedule. If you want your child to thrive, give them the mental and emotional safety of a regular routine. In this post we will be looking at HOW TO SCHEDULE YOUR TODDLER/PRESCHOOLER’S DAY to help them flourish with a sense of peace and confidence!
Getting a Plan of Action: The schedule with my little tikes included a set time for the following activities in just 5-30 minute amounts. It may look like a lot of categories to do each day and you may be afraid that it will take up too much of your time as MOM, but I assure you, if you stick with it, after a little while, it will FREE YOU UP by greatly reducing some of the unpleasant tendencies in your preschooler – such as whining, tugging at your leg for love and attention because your toddler will learn to be busy with many of these activities on his own. Who knows, you may even get to use the bathroom in peace once in a while! Or even, …wait for it…, paint your nails, or something pampering like that!
Once breakfast is finished each morning, just set a timer for the beginning of each hour to do one of these activities below. I kept the activities in the same order each day in an effort to build routine, and routine brings with it some peace and contentment that is hard to find otherwise.
At first, start with a small increment of time, such as 5 minutes per activity. If you keep it short, it keeps them “wanting more,” which is a great way to help them look forward to it the next day. This means the rest of each hour is available for snuggl with you or for free play, which is also an important developmental need. Gradually increase the number of minutes of each activity up to a Max of 30 min each. Your child will get used to the standard of behavior and the routine of the schedule. That’s when you’ll see a happier, more content, self-entertaining child emerge where the demanding, cranky one once lived.
Here’s the list of activities I used in our littles’ daily routine. I’ve put * beside each activity that the child can eventually do alone (still under your supervision but with them not needing or focusing on their need for you).
Notice that I’ve alternated an “alone play” with a “non-alone play” time.
***********Keep all of the items that are used in these activities reserved only for it’s one special time each day. This is KEY to getting this plan to work effectively!!**********
BIBLE TOGETHER TIME My favorite interactive toddler Bible of all times is The Pray and Play Bible. It has big pictures to go with the story, along with finger play songs, little prayers, action songs, and even crafts that all go along with the story. During or after breakfast each weekday we’d begin our routine with BIBLE TOGETHER TIME – to set a priority in our lives that our time with God comes first.
*BIBLE ALONE TIME A Bible story on a CD to listen to while they look at a kid’s picture Bible or while they color Bible stories or play with Bible figures such as a Noah’s Ark set.