As I pulled into the parking lot, my heart started to race. I had been dreading going into this store with my toddler from the time of her birth. It seems no matter where you turn there is something breakable lurking around the corner. The store…Hobby Lobby. One of my absolute favorite places to go. I pushed my feelings aside and told myself it was going to be okay. She had a full belly, we talked about what we were going in there for, and she had a fabulous nap. No routine needed in our house.
To my amazement, she did excellent. I was on cloud nine. Then we had to check-out. She wanted to play with the flowers and I calmly tried to explain they were not toys and we had to put them back. Oh no, shopping was over and it was time to play. Then she told me “no” and hit me. My face must have said it all because in a flash the chase was on. At first I thought she would just run and then come back. She didn’t come back. Oh my word she is going to get kidnapped. I told my mom to watch our stuff as I darted off to find her.
After I called her name she stopped. I thought in my head “you just wait until I catch you” and then she dashed into another direction. She is going to break this entire store and get kidnapped at the same time. Why don’t they invent alarms in kids clothing for such emergencies? My daughter then started calling for her Gam. A lady called out, “Sweetie do you need help finding an adult?” With a smile on my face, I calmly waved and said “Oh no, the adult is here, I have it all under control, really.” By now all sorts of thoughts were swimming in my head and I could feel the warmth of all the stares. Finally, I caught her and we went straight to the bathroom. Once we somehow managed to get her in the car, I vowed she would never go to that store with me again.
After the absolute crippling experience, the doubts starting pouring inside of my head. Then, I forced myself to stop comparing my family to others. There is nothing wrong with my child. She is a CHILD. Children are supposed to be full of life and want to explore. They do not have the capacity to fully understand the consequences of breaking something in a store. She knows from experience that accidents happen and that is okay. Sitting still for long periods of time is boring for me. How in the world can I expect someone her age to do it with self-control? We have to take baby steps to get to that level. As they say, “you cannot run until you walk.” Having a routine is great; however, too much shopping overwhelms little ones.
Seeing no two people are alike, I had to allow her body to tell me what our daily routine needed to be. Because I really watched to see what worked for her, it took a few months to figure out a system. The below is the order used to figure out the system. Note: If your child attends daycare/school during the week it is highly recommended to follow their schedule. This will help your child’s body be on a routine. Following the same time for snack, nap, etc. will help your child tremendously. Also, daily one-on-one time is extremely important and can be as little as one hour.
She wakes up at 7:00am every morning. This is ten hours after she goes to bed (recommended for her age). The amount of sleep she gets varies each night but I always ensure she has a ten-hour window. If she wakes up earlier, we just start the day earlier (she rarely wakes prior to 6:45am).
She takes a nap from 1:00pm to 3:00pm daily. After wake-up time was decided, nap was next. Six hours after waking she becomes irritable so that is the max amount of time she stays up before nap. Allowing her to stay up all day and go to bed early does not work (with a twelve-hour window at night to get enough rest). Those nights all she does is toss and turn. So, despite what others have said, she needs a nap in order to have restful sleep.
Our bedtime is 9:00pm, which is six hours after she wakes up from nap. She is in the bed at 8:00pm so she has time to get any leftover energy out before lights out at 9:00pm (A nightlight is on while I prepare for bed).
After figuring out her sleep schedule, lunch and bath were plugged in (sleep deprived mom here!).
We start preparing lunch at 11:00am. Some children can fall right to sleep after eating but not my daughter. She gets a burst of energy after eating so I ensure she has 30 minutes of playtime after eating.
Getting ready for bed starts at 7:00pm. We make bedtime fun, therefore more time is needed. I put her in the tub, wash her, and then let her play with her toys. After thirty minutes, I finish getting her ready for bed (pajamas, brush teeth, etc.). She gets to pick one soft animal to sleep with and picks out one book to read. We read and say our prayers. Next, I put on the sound machine, Bible App, essential oil diffuser, and set the a/c to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (we now have a programmable thermostat). Then off to soak in the tub for me! By the time I am done, she is asleep (we co-sleep). Note: Our bedtime routine may seem overwhelming, but it really isn’t. I am in the bath no later than 8:15pm allowing plenty of time before I go to sleep.
By knowing what works best for her body and putting the main times in a chart everything else can be scheduled in-between. She is her best in the morning so that is when we run errands. And, if she has one-on-one time with me, she is more willing to “allow” me to spend time doing other tasks. Every child has their own needs so it is important to figure out what works best for them and then plan your schedule accordingly, when possible.
What daily routine tips do you have?Charissa