Having problems getting a strict routine for my toddler. I let him play most of the time and we do activites. Is this normal to do with your toddler?


[deleted account]

100% agreement from me as well. My kids are free to roam and play, mostly. On mornings when big bro goes to school, we have a morning routine, but when he gets off to school, we just play around. If it's sunny, we go outside. If it's raining or cold, we stay in. The only things I have timed is meals, and bed.

Kids don't need that kind of pressure, IMO. Strict routines and time restrictions are a grown-up thing. Let 'em be kids, you know?

[deleted account]

The only real routine I have with my 15 month old is he eats at the same time and is cuddling on my lap ready for bed by 7pm... he is a little guy that loves to be outside so I dont want to keep him in and worry about strict rules... they need a routine but they arent in the military... hubby is so he can deal with strict routine...lol. Good luck and I just think if your little one is happy that is awesome:)

Deborah - posted on 04/27/2009




I completely agree with Jen. You do need some form of routine so your child feels secure and has some idea of what to expect but letting them play and playing with them I think is most important because soon they'll be too old to play with like this and there is so much they learn from play. So I say relax and enjoy the time! Their attention span is pretty short though so if you want a stricter routine, I would suggest trying to switch their attention about every 30 min to an hour, just give them something else to play with or put on different music to dance to or something. Keep eating times pretty consistent and well spaced and that should be enough of a schedule for them. Good luck!

[deleted account]

Yes, normal. Kids do need a relaxed routine so they know what to expect but I personally do not believe in putting kids in a really strict routine. I have seen friends do that and when the kid is not in the same place at the same time every day and things change they cannot handle it. One in particular had their kids nap at home every day same time. This meant they left parties early or didn't come or whatever. Had to work around the child's routine. Don't agree with that. I think if you expose your kid to lots of activities and experiences outside the home, they become more flexible, able to deal and learn so much more. And you also aren't sticking to one routine all the time. You get bored and the kid gets bored and then there is trouble.

Kids learn so much from play so if your child is doing that a good part of the day and you are doing activities, reading, going places, you are great. I wouldn't worry.


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Amber - posted on 05/18/2009




I think that the kind of person you are indicates how you will treat your child. I don't like knowing everything I will do in a day, I like to leave things open for a trip to a friends' house or if the weather is beautiful then a trip to the beach. My 19 month old daughter starts her nap anytime between 12:30-2pm depending on what we are doing and this inconsistancy doesn't change how long she sleeps nor when she goes to bed. This is our time. She will get strict structure when she hits school. This is the only time she will be this age and I plan to enjoy it and do whatever we feel like. My daughter is mature and beyond her age in comprehension and plays well with other children no matter their age. I think we are doing pretty well.

Krystal - posted on 05/17/2009




i guess i'm going against the majority here! i feel that kids need structure, that they crave it and look forward to knowing what the day brings. i am NOT stuck at home doing the same thing every day. do i prefer to eat lunch at noon each day followed by nap around 12:30, yes. do we eat at 1 at least once a week, yes. do we have a late bedtime when we have friends/family over on a saturday night, yes. So does it mean that since every day we get up around the same time, eat lunch around the same time, nap around the same time, eat dinner around the same time, get baths around the same time, and go to bed around the same time that my kids are not flexible, that they they are stifled, or pressured? i surely think not. i think they enjoy knowing that when Daddy gets home each day that they get to play with him while Mommy gets dinner finished up. I think they feel secure knowing that every night we can read 'The going to bed book' 4 times and Mommy and Daddy aren't saying - sorry, we can only read that once because it's too late and we don't have time for that tonight. i am NOT saying that kids that have more flexible schedules don't thrive or anything like that. maybe i'm just being selfish by wanting to know at least somewhat of what the day may bring. we enjoy going to the zoo and the museum. do we work around our schedule most of the time, yes. does that mean my kids have any less fun? i don't think so. i just get memberships to places that my kids enjoy. that way we can visit half of the zoo one day and the other half the month after.
i am a complete believer in 'To each his own'. honestly, no one can tell you what is best for you and your children but YOU.

Krista - posted on 05/17/2009




I am totally in agreement. I have a friend who had a strict routine for her kids, and ya, every time something didn't fit, they totally fell apart. She's loosened it up now, and they are better. My only schedule is basically meals and bedtime. (And homework during the year, right after school). We have some activities, but again, not many, because they need to be allowed to be kids. Mine are currently enjoying our 85 degree day and playing in the small pool we have. Then gonna set up the slip and slide, then dinner, showers and bed. Again, only dinner and bed scheduled. It allows you to be the parent too, we are doing this, so let's go, sort of thing. And give some leeway for the kids to suggest activities as well. Makes everyone happy.

You are doing a great job. At 2, playing is most important thing they can do. The worst thing to do to a 2 yr old is stifle them. Have consistent rules and consequences (only 2 or 3), be consistent with certain things (seatbelt in car, helmet on bike), and let everything else just be.

Kate - posted on 05/16/2009




The only routine that I ever had with my three kids (17, 9 and 6) was bedtime. Otherwise the day just goes on and on! Mealtimes too would be around and about the same time every day, just so I could be organised for them. Other than that, enjoy your playtime and activities. He will be grown up and in a routine for long enough!! :)

Davina - posted on 04/27/2009




thank you all moms. You all had something great to tell me. I feel a little bit better.

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