Toddler Survival Tip #11
10. Toddler Behaviour Behaviour and Schedules
Behaviour problems such as not going to bed on time, not sitting at the table, not cleaning up toys and other little frustrations for a parent can easily be turned around with a bit of schedule.
Humans are by natural a lover of schedules. We like to know what time we have to work at, when our lunch breaks are and where we can take them. Who to go to for more information, how to get help, what materials go where. An organized work space is a lot less stressful for us as adults, why would kids be any different?
Remember toddler are very emotional and social being, with short attention spans and an inexhaustible need for activity.
I usually try to run my two boys out every day. Each morning we go out for an hour walk and some time at the park. My 1 and 3 year old can burn out their energy and I get some outside time and exercise for my own mental and physical health. But what will I be doing when it hails? or I feel ill? or maybe I have too much work to do or I feel down that day and just can't get them out?
For this reason I fall back on a daily schedule. I am currently creating one for my wall with cards with pictures on it for them to see and myself to follow. I have them on velcro so I can change any day up as we go along. I tried a regular paper one with my 3 year old as a trial and it worked really well!.
He would look at in the morning and remind me if I forget things, like, "Oh mommy you forgot to put the music on for music time today." He loved it!
HOW do you make a toddler schedule?
Think about what activities your children would enjoy in the day. Think about their energy levels, naps, your one on one time with them, free play, crafts, and your stuff too... cleaning, laundry, dinners, work, personal time. Like a baby's schedule it should serve you, not you serving the schedule. Make a prototype first and see how the day goes.
Some examples could be:
- breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks
- naps, rest
- book corner
- play outside
- free play
- roomtime alone (usually not longer than 15 min for young ones)
- one on one with dad or mom
- clean up time
- chores or mommy helper time
- toileting, dressing skill building time
- learning time, letters, animals, board games, fine motor skills
- choice time (bins of toys they don't get to play with a lot
Now list what you need to do in your day:
- 7:30am and 2:30pm - errands / PU kids from school
- 40 min dinner prep time
- 1 load of laundry per day
- 15 min personal time twice a day
- 15 hubby time
- 30 min waiting in car for piano lesson
- kitchen clean up 30 3 times a day
- 30 min exercise
- cold calls
- data entry
- anythings else that you need
Now blend the list together or separate them one for you and one for them to see. See if you can get your hubby or older siblings to help with any job or watching toddlers for short periods throughout your day.
For your self time or work time, try to include the free play here or add a "Distracta Box" which is a special box they don't get to play with unless you are on the phone or working. Put a new item or toy in it once in a while to keep it fresh and new.
We also have a bedtime schedule in the bathroom. My 3 year old goes through the list and tells me whats next. We don't have fights at bedtime as a rule, cause the routine stays the same.
Start and end your naps, eating etc at the same time each day. Especially if it around a certain thing or time when your toddler usually acts up. If it's bedtime they struggle with, then focus on a bedtime schedule, stick to it for a couple weeks, start at the same time do the same things in the same order, soon you'll find their body knows the triggers before bed.
For Bedtime Struggles:
DON'T keep going into your toddlers room if they call you again and again. If they keep coming out, just quietly put them back in bed, don't talk or engage, kiss them on the head, tuck them in and simple say, bedtime now, I love you. Go out of the room. You may need to repeat this A LOT in the beginning, but soon,they'll know you mean business. Mean what you say and do and do what you mean and say.
If you keep to a routine, they will know what's next and it's hard to question. Start at a reasonable time and allow for life skills to develop. Think about allowing them to brush teeth, wash face, toilet training, putting on their own pj's, picking a book out (this can all be time consuming.) Allow 40 minutes before you actually want to walk out of the bedroom. We start at 7pm and usually end at 7:30pm.
Our bedtime schedule is:
It has pictures to follow along, he usually shows us whats next.
Ask a lot of questions,
"What do you think you need to do before bed?"
"Can you tell me that happiest part of your day?"
"Can you show me your sugar bugs?"
"How do we put pj's on, can you do it yourself?"
We encourage a lot of life skills and positive thoughts before sleeping.
Never bribe, threaten, or yell at a child before bed. Some days are hard, it's ok to say,"Today was a difficult day, tomorrow will be better." "Mommy wasn't happy with how you acted, but I love you very much and I know you can do better tomorrow."
Remember your baby is now a toddler, but still so so young. Love the child behind the behaviour. We all make mistakes, forgive them as you would yourself.
baby signing classes begin Sept. 11th!