Toddlers are a lot of work, but also a whole lot of fun. Of course, this season of motherhood often brings with it a lot of mom guilt. There’s just so many things to do and keep track of with toddlers. Are my toddlers learning enough? Does my toddler need more activities in his routines? Is he healthy? Am I feeding him the right food?
And sometimes, in our attempt to cover all the basis, we inevitably end up dropping a few balls in our struggle to juggle everything.
Of course, some of these things are more important than others. But one valuable thing that toddlers need, but frequently lack, are beneficial, well structured routines.
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One Valuable Thing Toddlers Need But Often Lack
Toddlers need routines. There’s just no getting around that. The truth is, we all do better when our lives consist of some semblance of regular routines.
Despite how important they are, routines often get neglected in favor of filling up a busy schedule. It’s a common thing these days for families to be constantly rushing from one activity to the next. It’s also common to have a “schedule” in an attempt to get it all done, and fit in plenty of activities for our toddlers.
Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely a place for activities, especially ones that promote learning and development. There’s even a place for schedules. But too often we get caught up in filling up the time to the point that we become so busy that basic routines become neglected.
And that, is not healthy.
Toddlers And Time
So does that mean you have to give up your schedule and quit planning fun activities? Not necessarily.
Let me take a minute to point out the differences between schedules and routines. Although the two words are often used synonymously, I’d like to argue that the two are indeed different. Schedules are based upon time, whether that looks like having a doctor appointment at ten o’clock or having an activity time from two to four o’clock.
In contrast, routines are based on a regular sequence of actions. A particular routine may occur at about the same time each day, but the emphasis is on actions rather than time.
This is an important distinction because toddlers do not yet understand the concept of time. Most toddlers are still learning about time. That’s why your toddler is likely to get frustrated when you ask them to wait five minutes for their snack while you finish doing something. They don’t understand how long five minutes is, and without this distinction, five minutes feels far longer.
Toddlers Need A Balance Of Structure And Flexibility
In the end, toddlers need a balance of structure and flexibility. They need structure, to provide them with a sense of security and to allow for independence. But they also need flexibility, which schedules typically lack.
Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. There will be times where your toddler needs to slow down during a particular activity in order to understand it. Or perhaps your child would like to take more time to explore his food during mealtime.
Whatever the scenario is, it’s important to have enough flexibility to allow your child to learn and grow at their own paces. And unfortunately, we often fail to give them that flexibility in favor of keeping them on a schedule. Often, a busy, overfilled schedule.
Too often we provide too much structure to our toddler’s day and fail to give them a balance of structure and flexibility. And ultimately this hurts their growth and development.
Routines Provide Safety And Security
So why does any of this really matter? I’d like to argue that it matters because too often, we trade the safety, security, and flexibility of routines for the busyness of overfilled schedules.
Just because you have a schedule, doesn’t necessarily mean your toddler has healthy, beneficial routines. It’s important to slow down and allow yourself and your toddler the time to establish routines in the course of your day. Because really, toddlers need healthy, beneficial routines in order to grow and develop well.
But maybe you’re not sure where to get started? Or maybe you’re not sure if your current schedule and/or routines are actually beneficial for toddler. No problem—I can walk you through it.
In Routine Me: Toddlers, I take you step by step through the process of creating new routines (or evaluating old ones) that benefit your toddler and work you and your toddler. In this self paced online course, you’ll get resources to help you succeed from day one.
This course is for you if:
- You are a mom of a toddler (12 months – 5 years old)
- You are looking to start healthy, beneficial routines with your toddler
- You want to start routines with your toddler, but you don’t know where to start
- You want step by step help starting routines with your toddler
- You want to adjust your current routines to be more beneficial for your toddler
- You want to know how to create routines that work for your toddler and family
If you are on the fence about this course, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me with any questions you may have. The course is backed by a 30 day money back guarantee—if you don’t like it (I think you will!), you can get a full refund within the first thirty days of purchase.