Delilah’s Toddler Routine

January 31, 2022, Hailey Cain

We finally got Delilah on a semi-solid schedule, and I love it! I knew we needed to get her on a better schedule in general, but now I can see the chaos that having no schedule was causing us. I had to fight to get anything done in the day, and as much as I wanted it, there was no consistency. Now that we have a routine, Delilah tells me when it’s time to do something like take her bath or brush her teeth. With a solid bedtime routine, Delilah has picked out certain things that let her know it’s bedtime, like getting her special yellow blanket and having a cup of milk.

I love having a solid routine, but sometimes it’s tough to stick to. It leaves very little flexibility to accommodate the random things in life that we just have to do. Navigating outings has been a challenge. We live pretty far from town, so by the time everything is said and done, even a quick grocery trip takes a couple of hours. It’s usually a game of trying to figure out if the outing is best done before or after naptime. I know the schedule won’t always have to be this rigid, but she really needs the consistency right now.

We have a really good routine for the day, but the times still aren’t quite where I’d like them to be, especially sleep times. I figured that this was okay and I’ve prioritized keeping the routine consistent over the times. I plan to adjust the times slightly each night by starting the routine just a little earlier until they are where I’d like them to be.

So, here’s what Delilah’s Toddler Schedule looks like!

7:30- 8:30 am. This is when we all usually wake up. I’d love to be in a place where I wake up before Delilah for a bit of self-care time to get ready for the day, but we’re not there yet. We’ve found that how well Delilah eats dinner impacts her wake-up time more than what time she goes to bed at night. If she doesn’t eat a good evening meal, she usually wakes up hungry at 4 am, has a snack, and then sleeps in until 9.

 8:30- 12:00 am. We really love to take our time in the mornings. If we have to be somewhere by a particular time, we can, but what’s the rush when we’re just hanging out at home all day. After we are all up for the day, we usually fix Delilah something simple for breakfast while we have coffee. Then we kind of just see how the day goes. If it’s nice, we always try to take Delilah outside for a while in the morning to help with naptime. Other times she’ll play in her room while I do a few things around the house.

12:30-1:30 pm. We fix Delilah some lunch around this time. How well she eats really impacts her sleep for naps and bedtime. With her being a picky eater, I have been trying extremely hard to make her foods that she will eat while still working on getting her to be a little more adventurous with her eating. We’ve found that she prefers keeping things simple with her diet and not having a lot of ingredients or flavors in any food item. She’s not a big meat eater right now (unless we have breakfast sausages, then she’ll eat five by herself), so we have been experimenting with many different protein sources for her with varying success. Peanut butter and yogurt have been winners. We’ve also found that she eats sandwiches so much better if we serve them open face, so minor adjustments have gone a long way.

 1:30-2:30 pm. When we’re finished cleaning up from lunch, we start getting Delilah ready for a nap. She’ll probably play for about 10-15 minutes while I clean up and get stuff ready for a nap. We struggled so much getting her to sleep for naps. We’ve found that we just have to drop everything we’re trying to do and make the whole house ready for nap time. We turn off all the lights and make it very quiet, and we all just lay down a rest until she goes to sleep. I hope we don’t always have to do this, but it’s really helping her recognize that it’s time to go to sleep. Then while she naps, I’ll usually have my afternoon coffee and do any cleaning or laundry that still needs to be done.

3:30-6:30 pm. Here, we have another long stretch of time to play or run errands, depending on what we need to do for the day. It all just kind of depends. Once I get the naptimes better adjusted, I’d love to make a dedicated activity time with Delilah during this time bracket, where we can play outside or do some kind of craft. She also usually has a snack when she wakes up from her nap.

6:00-7:30 pm. Somewhere around 6ish, I start making dinner. The times aren’t super rigid, so there’s some blending on when we do things. Like with her lunch, we’ve been trying incredibly hard to make meals that she likes to eat while still having some solid nutrition. We’ve also given up trying to get her to sit at the table. At most mealtimes, she prefers standing in her learning tower while she eats.

7:30-8:00. This is Delilah’s favorite time of the day. She usually takes her shower right after dinner. She actually tells us that she’s done eating by excitedly shouting that it’s “Sha-Sha time.” She still prefers the shower over a bath, so we just roll with it. After she plays for a while and washes, she’ll usually remind me that it’s time to brush her teeth. I’m still so grateful that she loves brushing her teeth and not something we struggle with.

8:30-9:00 pm. This is when we start our bedtime routine. After a shower and pajamas, we jump right into our routine. It’s really helped because if I so much as try to finish folding some laundry before putting her to bed, she tells me that it’s “nigh-nite time.” To get ready for bed, we go to the kitchen for a cup of milk. Then on the way back to bed, Delilah stops in and says good night to her Grandma. Next, we turn down the lights in the room and lay down with her special yellow blanket (she has a million blankets, but this fuzzy yellow blanket is just the one). Once we’re all cuddled up, she drinks her milk. I still haven’t been able to get her to stop throwing her cup to the floor the second she finishes her milk, but oh well. On a good night, after this, she rolls over and goes to sleep, but we aren’t so lucky some nights.

10:00-11:30 pm. I wanted to include this time because I feel like it’s equally important. After Delilah’s good and asleep, Joshua and I have some time to relax and hang out with each other. After we get Delilah to bed, I get up and make us a cup of tea to share (no special reason why we share a cup of tea, we just do), and we finally watch an episode or two of our shows or play Minecraft together for a bit before bed.