Establishing Toddler Daily Routine Ages 1-3 Years

    Daily Routine

    Proper organization of your child’s daily routine is a guarantee of his health as well as it’s a basis of the young child’s parenting. During the first three years of kid’s life, the efficiency of his nervous system is very changeable, so it is necessary to establish a routine that suits your kid’s age. As your child grows from one to three years of age, you will have to change his daily routine three times.

    Before you keep on reading

    – Note that there are no any strict norms and standards in the article for setting your child’s daily schedule, it’s just a guidance.

    – Each daily schedule is set optimally, as an example, if the time of feeding, sleep and bathing coincide with your child’s needs at the moment.

    – Due to the fact that children can’t tolerate drastic change of daily schedule, you should begin a new age-related daily routine gradually so as not to cause kid’s negative emotions. Your child’s good mood and behavior will tell you whether you do everything properly.

    – When establishing a daily routine you should consider not only your little one’s age but also his individual needs and state of health as well.

    – Keeping a certain daily schedule teaches your child organization skills, makes life easier both for him and you. The child, who keeps his daily schedule, will then easier adopt to the conditions to the kindergarten environment.

    How non-compliance with the daily routine influences a kid’s health:

    – a child becomes whiny, moody, irritable;
    – a child experiences frequent impairment in mood as a result of fatigue, lack of sleep;
    – a child’s nervous and mental activity isn’t being developed properly;
    – a child has difficulties developing hygiene and neatness skills.

    Kid’s daily routine of 1 – 1.5 year olds

    Features of this age group

    – There are significant changes in a child’s development within the second year of his life.

    – Children are still physically quite weak, get tired quickly. Their high physical activity is combined with undeveloped coordination of movements.

    – A child at this age walks on his own, as well as squats and bends.

    – He is able to comply with adults’ simple requests.

    – He can correctly identify 4-6 items when he sees them.

    – A child begins to actively use simple words and his vocabulary is being rapidly enriched.

    – He starts using a spoon on his own but the movements aren’t yet skillful.


    A child sleeps twice a day: the first nap last 2-2.5 hours, the second one lasts 1,5-2 hours. Prepare your child for sleep (stop playing noisy games, wash and bathe him) in advance of time, at least a half hour before you put him to bed. Put your child to sleep during the day and at night at the same time: thus the child develops a conditioned reflex to time and the next days he will wake up and fall asleep at the scheduled time. When getting your child on the day routine, you have to wake him if he does not wake up at the allotted time; deviation of 15-20 minutes is ok. Later, when the routine is already set, it is undesirable that you wake the child for this will impair his mood.

    In the summertime it is recommended that the child sleeps in the fresh air – outdoors, on the porch, or in a room with a window open. From May through August, you can put your child for a nighttime sleep a bit later while prolonging his nap time respectively.


    Feed your child four times a day (breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner) every 3-4 hours. Your child should be awake after feeding and then sleep until the next feeding. After a good sleep and feeding, the child will be calm and active till the next sleep, and will better perceive the impact of the world around.

    At this age, you should teach the child to use a spoon by himself. First he learns to eat thick foods and then liquids. The first two or three spoons the child eats on his own, then you finish feeding him with another spoon your child still holding his one. At the end of the feeding he eats two or three more spoons on his own.

    Waking hours

    Waking hours at this age must last no longer than 4 – 4,5 hours. You shouldn’t let your child sleep for a longer or shorter time, for this can result in fatigue of the kid’s nervous system and behavior violations.

    Within the waking hours you should mostly plays games with the child, go for a walk, and wash him. The child usually plays with the toys that can be dragged (cars, strollers), cubes, various building blocks that he can stack, books with simple bright pictures, atuffed animals, pyramids.

    It’s very important that you take the child outdoors twice a day (after lunch and afternoon snack) for 1,5 hours; during the summer time you can walk up to 2 hours long if the weather is good.

    When washing and bathing your child at this age, you can simply rub him with a wet towel. Start with the upper limbs, then lower ones, chest, and back. The initial water temperature is 92-93 degrees. Gradually, every 7 days, decrease the temperature up to 75 degrees. Washing and bathing is an important part of hardening, and you should include it into your kid’s daily routine as an integral part of healthy upbringing.

    Perform hygienic bathing 2-3 times a week before a nighttime sleep.

    The size of your child’s clothes should correspond his age and not restrict the movement, as well as have a minimum number of ties and fasteners. Pediatricians recommend that up to 1.5 years of age both boys and girls wear pants and blouses, as dresses cause difficulties walking. The child should participate in the process of dressing and undressing, learn to take off the simple items of clothing (untied or unfastened shoes, a T-shirt).

    At this age, it is important to develop the following cultural and hygiene skills: wash hands before eating, sit down on a kids’ chair, to learn to eat with a spoon on his own, to use a napkin after eating. It is necessary to teach the child to sit down dressing and undressing and sit there until you get an expected result. To accustom your child to neatness place his on the potty after sleep, every 1,5 – 2 hours while he is wake, before going for a walk and afterwards.

    An approximate daily routine for 1 – 1,5 year olds

    Feeding: 7:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m, 4:30 p.m., 8 p.m.
    Waking hours: 7- 10 a.m, 12 – 3:30 p.m, 4:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    Sleep: the irst sleep 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., the second sleep 3:30 – 4:30 p.m., nighttime sleep 8:30 p.m. – 7 a.m.
    Going for a walk: after lunch and afternoon snack.
    Bathing: 7 p.m.

    Daily routine of 1,5 – 2 year olds

    Features of this age group

    – A child steps over an object on the floor, runs around, rubs his hands when washing them under running water.

    – He can name the objects, knows the basic parts of the body.

    – He takes off untied or unfastened shoes on his own, holds a cup while drinking, uses a spoon more skillfully already.

    – When playing a kid performs the activities he saw or learned earlier: feeds a doll, builds a tower of blocks, etc.

    – He can distinguish between 3-4 different shapes of object like sphere, cube, pyramid.

    – He knows well the meaning of the words “you can” and “you mustn’t“, but is not always able to obey his parents.


    After one and a half years of age, a child already naps once a day for 3-3.5 hours. The total amount of sleep at this age is increased up to 13-14.5 hours, including 10-11 hours of nighttime sleep. When accustoming your child to be independent, you should not let him undress himself for too long before bedtime – he will get tired and will have difficulties falling asleep.


    Feed your child four times a day with the intervals of 3.5 – 4.5 hours. If the child is awake between feedings, this interval should not exceed 3.5 hours. A night break between dinner and breakfast is about 12 – 13 hours. Your child should have breakfast no later than one hour after waking up and dine no later than one hour before you put him to sleep, thus you will provide him with a healthy sound sleep.

    Waking hours

    Now your child can stay awake for 5 – 5.5 hours.

    When playing he can actively use toy shovels and balls.

    Go for a walk twice a day, after breakfast and afternoon snack. The duration of your walks is the same as for the previous age group – 1.5 hours.

    Wash and bathe your child before lunch. As soon as your child reaches 1,5 years of age, you can use a shower – its mechanical and thermal effects are stronger than when you rub your kid with a towel. Harden your child by gradually reducing the temperature of water every 7 days from 95-98 degrees to 75-82 degrees.

    First, pour the water on the back, then on the chest, tummy, and finally on the hands.

    Preform the hygienic bathing 2 times a week before nighttime sleep.

    By two years of age the child should already be accustomed to his potty, but when playing he may forget that he needs to use it, so remind him about that and place him on the potty before bedtime or after sleep.

    Approximate daily routine of 1,5 – 2 year olds

    Feeding: 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 3:30 p.m. 9:30 p.m.
    Waking hours: 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 3:30 – 8:20 p.m.
    Sleep: 12:30 – 3:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. – 7:30 a.m.
    Going for a walk: after breakfast and afternoon snack.
    Bathing: 6:30 p.m.

    Daily routine of 2 – 3 years olds

    Features of this age group

    – The vocabulary is increased significantly compared with the previous age group. He says wordy sentences. A child’s speech starts being similar to an adult’s one.

    – A kid eats completely on his own, puts on and takes off a T-shirt or a shirt, asks to use the potty.

    – He plays with the toys intently, is absorbed in viewing books and pictures. Third year of age is a time of independence and creativity.


    Within the entire third year of life your child can nap once a day. If he refuses to nap, provide him with calm activities within this time – view pictures in a book, for example. This will let his nervous system rest and avoid overfatigue.


    Feed your little one 4 times a day with the intervals of 3,5 – 4 hours (breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner).

    Waking hours

    At this age your child can stay awake already for 6 – 6,5 hours. If he gets easily tired, reduce this time up to 5 – 5,5 hours while prolonging his sleep time. At this age the kid gets calmer and can do the same activity for 20-30 minutes, but he still gets excited easily, and a monotonous activity makes him feel tired. So you should alternate your kid’s activities. When playing he can use musical instruments, colored pencils, dolls, cars, molds for sand.

    Children of this age must spend a certain time outdoors, even in winter, but no longer than 1.5 hours, as they still easily feel cold. When it’s warm outside, duration of the walks can be prolonged up to 2 hours. And the conditions allow, they can spend the entire waking hours outdoors.

    When washing and bathing your child, follow the recommendations on water temperature described above.

    Preform the hygienic bathing 1 time a week before nighttime sleep.

    Despite the fact that the child already asks you to use his potty, you still should place him on the potty before bedtime and going for a walk. And of course keep the neatness of the process.

    At this age, you should encourage your child to independently perform different activities, develop and consolidate the skills he already has.

    Approximate daily routine for 2 – 3 year olds

    Feeding: 8 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
    Waking hours: 7:30 a.m. -13:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
    Sleep: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. – 7:30 a.m.
    Going for a walk: 2 times a day after breast and afternoon snack.
    Bathing: 1 time a week before bedtime.

    As I’ve already mentioned, you shouldn’t follow this routine strictly – this is a guidance. Your child is unique with the unique needs and this may help you to settle a routine for him.

    What is your experience in establishing everyday routine for your child? If you have any tips, feel free to share them in the comment section.


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