Thursday, May 18, 2017

What We Do All Day Long (Just the Toddler and I)

When I first became a stay-at-home mama a few months back, I was desperate for a routine. It was very chaotic around here because we had just moved to New York from Florida. I was still unpacking and I was still trying to figure out what a stay-at-home mama did. My 22-month-old son and I were just a hot mess every day (waking up whenever, eating whenever, forgetting to change clothes, forgetting what damn day it was, and more). So my solution was a schedule including a morning and evening routine. And once we had a plan, everything was so much easier!

I did a decent amount of research on the web and came up with the following toddler routines:

MORNING - Diaper/Potty Visit, Get Dressed, Make Bed, Wash Face, Brush Teeth, Brush Hair, Take Vitamins 
EVENING - Bath (every other night), Diaper/Potty Visit, Put on Jammies, Brush Hair, Brush Teeth, Put Dirty Clothes in Hamper, Tidy Bedroom, Read Books then Lights Out 

I also made a Daily Schedule to help keep us on track. I don’t strive for perfection. We do not follow this every day, but we get very close. Often times, if I have errands or shopping to do, I do it between 9 - 11 am. We also have a library story time and outdoor adventure we try to go to every week.

Here are the top five reasons why this works so well: 

  1. It’s consistent and it makes it easier for my little guy. He knows what to expect and that means fewer meltdowns. 
  2. I know we have lunch at noon every day, so I always make sure our errands are done in time to get home to eat. This saves money on eating out and keeps our outings short. Shorter outings mean fewer meltdowns because he hasn’t been forced to do too much (or stay in the car seat too long). 
  3. One word for you! NAPTIME! Eighty percent of the time, naptime is at 1 pm on-the-dot! We both know it’s coming right after lunch and this allows me to work on mama-only stuff or take a nap too (because he’s wearing me out). 
  4. It helps keep screentime down. When we were moving, I relied on too many hours of cartoons to keep my toddler busy so I could unpack or wind down from a hectic day. With the schedule, my little guy and I both know (and can look forward to) possible screentime in the afternoon. 
  5. It helps us regulate our snacking. We would both snack all day if we could, but I can tell him (and myself) that it’s not 10 am yet and that we will have our snack then.
Like I said, this works very well for us but there are a few ways where I’d like to improve. First, I don’t have a morning or evening routine. And I could use one! I’m getting better at making sure I put on deodorant every day (true story!) but I still am having trouble squeezing in me time to exercise, journal or paint my nails. Also, I’d like for my little guy to engage in more independent play. When I try to squeeze in chores or other work, he freaks and pesters me the entire time (which sometimes turns in to a meltdown). So if I can get him more comfortable with playing by himself, I can get some stuff done.
Also, as he gets older, I’d like to add in some useful lessons. I really like the Waldorf methods, so I hope to incorporate those things in the next year.

What do you do all day with your kids? Do you have a routine/schedule that you like? I’d love to hear from you.

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