The Value of a Schedule with a Toddler

Toddlers cannot tell time so having daily structure is so helpful to helping them feel secure and avoid tantrums and meltdowns.

smiling family standing outside

The other morning Brayden was anxious to go visit my parents. He was going to sleep over. I told him we would leave when Daddy got home from work. He said, “Have to take a bath, then have solo playtime, then eat lunch, then take nap, then go to Nana’s house!”

Yes! He was correct.

Do you see the value of a schedule and routine with a toddler? Toddlers can’t tell time. They also don’t have much of a concept of time, except maybe that “just a minute” equals an eternity. But to say, “Such-and-such will happen after Y” and he knows what happens between now and Y, it gives him something to hold on to and to grasp. He gets that. He has the same routine day after day, so he knows what happens between now and then. He can measure it. No need for a fit.

I thought that little story might be a good boost to anyone out there struggling and wondering if the effort is worth it. Yes! Keep it up!

Reader Comments

  • Rob & LeAnna said…
    I also found this to be true with my two older kids. It really prepares them for the realities of school schedules and routines they will have for the next few years of their lives. I think it is wonderful that I never have to carry around a watch because my kids are the time keepers for me.
    February 22, 2008 12:41 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    That is an excellent point! Thanks for adding it.
    February 22, 2008 2:31 PM

Reader Structure Questions

  • Laura said…
    How well does your son react to change? Can he go with the flow? Or is he unable to adapt to new situations very well? I love the scheduling and never thought of it in these terms, but my first thought was, “What if A, then B, then C didn’t happen? How would my older BW child react to deviations in the schedule?”Thanks for any insight.
    March 6, 2008 3:57 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    I am actually quite suprised at how well he adjusts to changes. He has never been one to handle a missed nap well, but his sister has always been fine with that, so I think it is more of a him thing than a BW baby thing (unless for Kaitlyn it is a “her” thing than a BW baby thing!). Brayden has just recently start to be able to miss a nap without him getting cranky in the evening.For major changes, he has always been fine. New baby sister? Big deal. Change from crib to bed? What’s the difference? Move? So what. Seriously, he doesn’t bat an eye.He handles change to his schedule much like I do. He finds it exciting and a nice change, but he is always happy to return back to normal once it happens (you know, like when you go on vacation?). He has a base to go back to, so to deviate is not a hard thing for him. Kaitlyn seems to be even more easy going than he was in that respect (and every other respect, really).
    March 6, 2008 4:07 PM

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2 thoughts on “The Value of a Schedule with a Toddler”

  1. I constantly sit amazed when I read this blog! I think “Wow, this woman has it together! Teach me!”Can you share your personal schedule? The times/days you do housework, the things you do everyday?After 11 months of being at home I am still struggling with a schedule for myself to get things done.Thanks!


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