Need Advice on Routine/Schedule for 18 Month Old

Updated on March 23, 2009
J.R. asks from Madison, WI
5 answers

I'm wondering if anyone has a good routine/schedule for an 18 month old? Unfortunately, I'm not a very scheduled person and I'm starting to see that we need some structure in our house. I'm a stay at home mom and sometimes we are looking for things to fill up the day. I'm thinking if we had some rhythm to the day that problem might go away. Any ideas will help. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Wow, some great responses, thanks everyone. Your ideas helped me put together a plan. I know it will take time but I'm looking forward to starting this tomorrow!

More Answers



answers from Cedar Rapids on

Hi, J.!

I have an 18-month-old son and we have sort of "fallen into" a rhythm that works well for us. He gets up somewhere between 6-7:30am, just depends on the day. He gets a diaper change and gets dressed, picks out his socks (rarely matching, but he's very proud!) and has breakfast. He helps a lot with the breakfast preparation - picking out an oatmeal packet from the box, putting the lid on the tea kettle, putting the waffle in the toaster or pressing start on the microwave, etc. He eats and jabbers away at me while I make and eat my own breakfast and clean up.

After breakfast we usually read however many books he'll sit still for and then play for an hour or so. We go from toy to toy, play simple hide-and-seek, play with a huge cardboard box in our basement play area, chase each other, whatever keeps his attention and keeps him active. Then he usually has a snack and has taken to playing on his own for a good 30-45 minutes after snack because he's had lots of "mommy time" already.

If we have errands to run or it's nice enough to go for a walk or to the park, now is the time. He is awake, happy, he's usually had his dirty diaper for the morning and he's well-fed. I try to get us home between 11-11:30 for lunch and we eat together. I again try to keep him active for the next hour or so and starting at about 12:45 we snuggle and watch part of a "Blue's Clues" episode, which is a huge treat for him. He knows that when it comes on and he snuggles, it's time to calm down because I put him down for a nap at 1:00. This didn't used to be so scheduled, but I'm due with my second and wanted him on a SCHEDULED nap time before dealing with a newborn! It really has worked well.

He usually plays in his crib (not crying) and listens to his music for about 10-15 minutes and then sleeps anywhere from 2-3 hours. When he gets up we have a snack and watch the rest of the "Blue's Clues" episode and snuggle, have a drink of water, etc. Then we play until Daddy gets home from work and we eat dinner at 5:30. We have family time or go to whatever activity is on and then at 8:00 we give him a bath, get into PJ's, start his music and he goes to sleep for 10-11 peaceful hours! :-)

This won't happen overnight, but it's just our natural rhythm and I love it because I know to schedule doctor's appointments, play dates, etc., during that nice 9:30-11 time after snack and before lunch!

Good luck with discovering your own home's schedule and rhythm!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Cloud on

Here was our daily "schedule" when I was doing daycare. And you need to remember that you MUST be flexible when it comes to kids!

7:00- 8:00 Wake up (come to daycare). Free time/ tv time for older kids

8:00 AM- 8:30 AM Breakfast

8:30 AM - 9:00 AM Free play while I cleaned up and got dinner ready to throw in oven. Diaper checks.

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM Read stories, Sing Songs, Do projects.

10:00 AM- 11:00 AM Nap time for younger ones, free play for older ones (OUTSIDE if possible).

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM LUNCH.

11:30 AM- noon Clean up lunch and change diapers.

Noon - 1:00/ 1:30 PM Play OUTSIDE. Puzzles and OR playdoh inside if weather was bad.

1:00/ 1:30- 3:00/ 3:30PM Naptime for younger ones. School age and up got movie time.

3:30 PM Snack time

3:45PM- 5:00 PM Free play either inside or out. If inside, art supplies were readily available for those who so chose.

Most kids were picked up by 5 or 5:15. They would go home and eat supper about 5:30 or 6. Then play till bath time around 7:30 or 8. Bedtime between 8 and 9.



answers from Waterloo on

My son is almost 18 months and our schedule is wake up about 730-800, snack 930, lunch 1130, nap 1230-230ish, snack 330, supper 530-600, maybe a snack around 730 (our son likes to eat) start getting ready for bed 800, bedtime between 800-830.

Good luck.



answers from Minneapolis on

Here's a typical schedule:

Wake Up do breakfast

Get Dressed

Morning Activity game,craft,playdoh whatever

Go outside and play,walk,park,anything but a short trip, can have morning snack if needed

Come home or inside, free play time while mom cooks or prepares lunch

Lunch, free playtime while mom cleans up

Story Time, Naptime

While baby naps mom get's break or does things

Wake up, have afternoon snack

Go backoutside and play, walk, go to park,

Dinner Time!

After dinner typical family time and activities

This is assuming your 18mo.old no longer has a morning nap. Also outside time is very important in the AM for a good nap in the afternoon.



answers from Appleton on

My daughter is 19 months old and we're on the following schedule:
She gets up around 6:30 am
Breakfast starts between 7 am and 8 am.
She "helps" with chores in the morning...washing dishes, sorting laundry, etc. When the chores are "done" (you know they never are!), we color or play with playdoh.
Lunch at 11:00 or 11:30 am
Nap at 12:30 until about 2 pm.
She usually plays or watches a video, depending on her mood.
Snack at 3:00 or 3:30 pm.
We go outside to play if it's nice out.
Dinner at 5:30 pm.
Bath at 6:00 or 6:30 pm.
Bedtime between 7:00 and 8:00 pm.

Good idea to have a schedule. Kids know what to expect and tend to be better behaved. I can definitely tell a difference when she's not on schedule!

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