Why You Need a Routine (with Sample Baby Schedule Printables)

I searched constantly about what activities to do with my babies and how to schedule their days. Constantly because I would search again at every new month, from newborns to 6 months and so forth. And I still do as we get to new milestones and changes, the next one being preschool!  I’m nowhere near Type A, but routines work wonders for babies and kids so I wanted to know why and how to create one.  It’s always helpful to see examples of how others have organized their babies’ schedules, which is why I have put together a sample baby schedule for every age range to help you create your baby routine.Creating a baby routine is essential. What is a sample baby schedule for a 6 month old? Or one year old? Read all about schedules from newborn to 2 years. 

Creating a baby routine is essential. What is a sample baby schedule for a 6 month old? Or one year old? Read all about schedules from newborn to 2 years.

Last week, I wrote an article about how my day looks like with a toddler baby schedule (an almost 3 year old and 12 month old).  But I know that is not everyone’s situation! To share everything I’ve learned on creating schedules and what to do with your babies at different ages, here is an overview of how and why to create routines and schedules and a series of posts dedicated to each age range. (There will be at least one new age updated each week) Each age range article has a list of activity ideas and a free sample baby schedule printable!  

Why Make One?

There is a lot of literature out there on the importance of routines and schedules for kids.  And I spoke a little bit about it in my toddler baby schedule post.  It is essential enough to recap here.  Structure is a huge comfort to babies and toddlers.  They are still figuring out a lot and require stability to feel truly secure in this crazy world.  Kids feel a sense of security when they know that they will sleep, be fed and have all of their needs met throughout the day.  With a set routine, there is no concern if or when it will happen. It doesn’t mean that complete spontaneity is gone forever, but a framework will help you AND your baby, I promise.  

Sleep

Knowing how much sleep and when is the skeleton of each routine, and helping your babies get into a good schedule is the first mission.  Babies, toddlers and people in general develop sleep associations. Things that are consistent every time they go down to fall asleep.  They (and we) develop regular sleep windows, where they are most likely to fall asleep. If they go past the window, they become overtired and is more difficult to get a good rest.  You may have noticed this in your own schedule.  

Kids don’t understand all of the feelings their body may be telling them yet.  They rely on us for that. Having a consistent sleep window and sleep associations helps your baby and toddler be better rested. I started with newborn sleep training, but if your baby is older- it’s never too late!Creating a baby routine is essential. What is a sample baby schedule for a 6 month old? Or one year old? Read all about schedules from newborn to 2 years.

Behavior

In turn, rested babies and toddlers behave better!  It’s not that they want to have tantrums or cry at every situation.  They may be overtired or overstimulated by a new environment.  It is usually a sign that they are not coping well with what is going on around them.  

Change is hard for some adults, and it’s incredibly hard for young kids.  A routine gives them a framework of knowledge: they understand what will happen when and can be happier as a result! If you are doing something different, tell your toddler ahead of time to ease the transition.  Also, try your best to schedule activities or outings during awake periods and not nap time.  I know it’s not always possible, but as often as you can!

Makes Sure that Everything gets Done

In the toddler baby schedule, I spoke about the weekly planning method I use to organize my week.  I write my events, goals and to dos for the week and assign them for certain days and times.  This way, I’ll actually do some housework because it has a designated time.  Also, I would probably forget to brush my toddler’s teeth if it wasn’t part of our nightly routine.  The fact that it’s at the same time everyday makes it easier to remember, and he’s now at an age where he’ll remind us if we do forget- that is good or bad depending on the situation.  🙂

How to Create a Routine or Schedule

Routine and schedule are used interchangeably because there are lots of people that cringe at the word schedule.  It sounds suffocating and hard to maintain a super regimented schedule where each minute is planned.  That is not what you need.  

All you need is a rhythm to your day, it can be as relaxed or as strict as you want to make it.  Same way with planning your to do lists- there are many different ways people accomplish tasks and organize their lives.  You need to find the best way for you.  Because the most important thing about creating a routine is that you can keep the routine going everyday.  That may seem obvious, but it’s a reminder to not create a schedule that doesn’t flow well with your personality or way of doing things.  

It may be tough at first to remember, but it becomes second nature.  I’m pretty much a zombie in the morning before coffee- I don’t get up before my kids even though it’s highly recommended.  It’s just not something I have figured out how to make work for me since I stay up late to work.

But even though I haven’t had my triple espresso (haha, yes, that’s a lot of caffeine, blame my parents), I go through the morning routine with both boys and my dog as my coffee is brewing.  They get hugged, kissed, changed, use the potty and set up with milk and toys, dog gets taken out and given breakfast. This ties them over until I’ve gotten my coffee in, then we eat breakfast together.  Only possible because it’s a set routine, since my mind hasn’t completely turned on yet.  

What to Consider when Creating One

  • Sleep, food, and activities are the main parts of a schedule for babies and toddlers.  Then you decide how you want to transition to different things.  
  • Decide if you want a more rhythm based routine, instead of a time based.  The sample schedules are time based, but a rhythm based schedule is doing everything in the same order but not necessarily tied to a certain time.
  • If you want a time based schedule but not sure if you can remember all of the things, set a timer or alarm on your phone to remind you of key times.  
  • Print the sample schedules or make your own to hang up on the fridge.

Click on the age for a sample schedule and activity ideas:

Are there other schedules that you wish were on this list?  Leave a comment or send me an email!

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About Shantall Bond

Hi! My name is Shantall and I’m here to share all things parenting, handling change and tales through the city with my boys.

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