By the time your little one turns 12 months old their entire routine seems to change and it can be difficult to figure out something that works for your family. Here is what I do with my 12 month old when it comes to naps, feedings and playtime.
Daily routines are very important for all people, and 1 year olds are no exception.
A daily routine for your young toddler can help improve behavior in your toddler and prevent those tantrums that could be happening more often than you like and help improve night time toddler sleep as well, even if it is after your babies first birthday.
Babies and toddlers do want to know what to expect on a daily basis and it makes the parenting life easier too!
Honestly, if it wasn’t for all the daily routines that I have in place, I would probably lose my mind and drive my kids crazy too!
Here is a successful daily schedule for a 1-year-old that you can use as a sample schedule if you’re a stay at home mom.
Our Daily Schedule For A One Year Old Who Likes To Sleep In
This is a typical day for my 1 year old – she does like to sleep in but you can adjust this sample schedule for the time your little one wakes up in the morning.
Dream Feed 6:00 am: My little one likes to eat at 6am and go back to sleep. She’s not a morning person so this works for her. My two other kids were up by 5am and ready to free play for the whole first year! (This is kind of like a morning nap for her, but I lump it in with night time hours of sleep)
Wake Up 9:00am: Usually between 9 and 9:30 in the morning baby S likes to wake up. I will wake her up at 9:30 if she is still sleeping by then, otherwise I try to let her wake up on her own as she happens to be less grumpy this way.
Breakfast 10:00 am: My little one does not like to eat breakfast first thing after waking up so I usually wait one hour before giving her any food. This way she can actually eat it instead of throw it on the ground. Our breakfasts are light and include bagels, fruit, eggs and yogurts.
Playtime After Breakfast: After eating has finished she gets cleaned up out of the high chair and then toddles around the house until about lunch time. Her favorite toys are light up ones like this flashlight which isn’t as annoying as you would think, and this DJ duck which is pretty funny and encourages her to walk around.
Lunch time 11:30am-12pm: Make lunch for you and your toddler. We like to do simple meals and table foods such as grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs or pb&j. I’ll add fruit and veggies as a side and give water or juice to drink. Sometimes the fruits and veggies are just canned or frozen but I do like to give as much fresh as possible.
Our grocery store does not have the best fruit in the winter so frozen is usually better! If It’s really slippery food I’ll use a mesh feeder like this one, I prefer the silicone one because it doesn’t flop around like the cloth ones do and the best way to keep the mess down is to have an easy to use feeding tool.
After Lunch: After lunch we walk one of the kids to half day kindergarten, get some fresh air and then pop down for an afternoon nap, it works out super well and fits right into the desired nap schedule for 12-18 months of age.
Nap time 12:30 pm – 2:45 pm: My little one likes to nap while my kindergartener is at school so this is the perfect time for me to take a break, or get things done. I always choose break over work but that’s just me!
After Nap: Walk to school and pick up older kids.
Afternoon Play 3-4:30pm: If the weather holds, this is when we take time to play at the school park to get some extra fresh air in. Let your little one toddle around the park, even if they don’t have shoes on. I like to make sure socks are nice and thick if I do this. If you would rather stay home and the weather just plain sucks, play with some sensory bins or read some books together.
Dinner prep 4:30-5pm: After playtime, it’s time to get dinner ready. Have your toddler help you in the kitchen by grabbing the veggies or pantry items and giving them to you while you prep dinner. Once Dad is home from work, he can take over the playtime with the baby while you focus on cooking dinner.
5pm Short Nap: At 5pm ,my little one is so tired that she needs a second nap. This nap is completely optional. I know that if my baby does not take this nap, she treats bedtime like nap time and frankly the whole evening is ruined. I learned the hard way that this nap should not be missed. This nap is only from 5pm until dinner is ready.
Dinner at 6pm: Dinner is around 6 and the baby usually wakes up on her own by the time we eat. If not, I’ll wake her and so we can all eat together.
After Dinner Dash 6-8pm: After dinner is complete and dishes are done, it’s time to wash up, have storytime and start bedtime. Hopefully, the baby is asleep between 8-9 so you can have a little quiet time before going off to bed Mama.
These baby schedules can work if you have one child, 2 or 3! You’ll just need to adjust based on your family needs and work schedule. I don’t adjust the schedule if there is a sleep regression, because that can make things worse from my experience.
One of the most important things for a successful day with a toddler is to make sure that awake time is very active and stimulates your babies brain as much as possible.
Hold a family meeting and see if there are activities that the older kids may want to do during playtime to make the best schedule more manageable for you.
What Time Should A 1 Year Old Wake Up In The Morning
One of the things that sleep specialists generally recommends is a wake-up time of 6-8 a.m. and a bedtime of 6-8 p.m and your child take appropriate daytime naps. It’s possible that all of your options revolve around what’s best for your family.
For example, if your
2 of my babies were napping once in the afternoon by the time they were 12 months old and my last baby likes to take 2 naps a day. Older toddlers will likely only take one nap a day, or transition to quiet time if they reject the nap altogether.
If your baby only takes one nap, try to hit your nap window between 12 and 3pm, so that they have lots of time to get tired again before bedtime routine starts. The most important thing is to follow those sleepy ques feed your babies well during meal time, and eventually things will start to become routine.
Incorporating Independent Playtime For Your 1 Year Old
I’m frequently asked how we taught our child to play alone for an hour every day. If you’re a busy stay-at-home parent, this can be a great way to get more things accomplished throughout the day while still teaching your child independence. I get as much done as I can when my kid is playing alone, and the rest of the day I am able to completely engage her as you can see in the sample toddler schedule.
The Importance Of A Schedule For Your Toddler
Most successful people have a predictable routine and daily habits are important from toddlerhood into adulthood.
Here are 5 benefits for creating a daily toddler schedule
- Helps your child get on a schedule: Consistent routine will help align the body with day to day basics by creating a body clock.
- Creates family bonds: When a child understands what is expected, they understand what is important and if family time becomes a part of the routine, then the takeaway will be that family is important.
- Establishes expectations: when your child knows what to expect and when there will be fewer power struggles in your home.
- Creates calm at home: With routine comes certainly and with certainty comes calm and a sense of security. A calm home is a happy home!
- Provides independence: when your child has a routine, they can begin to do things on their own when they know what is expected. This creates independence which also in turn helps raise confident kids.
- Creates healthy habits: routines help you stay on track and brushing the teeth every morning and evening during morning and evening routines will help children understand the importance of healthy habits.
When establishing a routine with your little one you’ll have to have a little patience at first, but if you keep practicing the important things on your list of to-do’s then it will all become second nature in no time, and you can say goodbye to power struggles.
You’ll have to adjust your daily schedule as your toddler grows into a preschooler and then into a school-aged kid and you;ll learn a lot of new things along the way.
If you have older children here are some routines you can use with them: