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Archive for the ‘schedules’ Category

My son Haydon just turned 4 months old today! Yippy! I am finally out of the land of newborn-hood and on to baby land! Along with Haydon’s 4 month birthday, he also dropped his 4th nap. I knew it was time to adjust his schedule because his 3rd of 4th nap of the day were just brief catnaps and no longer than 45 minutes each.

From 9 weeks- 15 weeks, Haydon’s schedule looked like this:
7:00Nurse
8:20-10:00 Nap
1o:00 Nurse
11:30-1:00 Nap
1:00 Nurse
2:30-4:00 Nap***
4:00 Nurse
5:30-6:15 Catnap***
6:15 Nurse
7:30 Bottle of expressed milk, followed by bedtime

***However, from 15-16 weeks his 3rd nap of the day went from being 1.5 hours long to only 45 minutes long. I played around with his waketime, but that still did not fix the nap length. I also noticed that Haydon was not nursing as much every 3 hours so I thought it might be good to try and extend his schedule to eat every 3.5-4 hours, except in the evening when I cluster feed. Extending the schedule worked. It got rid of the 4th nap and he is nursing better. Also, by extending the scheduled feedings, Haydon started taking a longer nap!

Haydon’s new schedule at 4 months (17 weeks old)
7am Nurse
8:30-10:30 Nap
10:30 Nurse
12:15/20-2:15 Nap
2:15 Nurse
4:00-5:00 Nap
5:00 Nurse
7:00 Nurse +Bottle of Expressed milk, followed by bedtime

 

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When you have a newborn, things can be very unpredictable for the first few weeks. If you are like me, you want to get to a more consistent schedule as soon as possible. I have found that writing down when your baby eats and sleeps is helpful in trouble shooting sleeping problems and eating issues. Writing all this information down helps you to see where patterns are developing. For instance, my son Haydon is having a lot of trouble with the first nap of the day. I have been writing down what time he eats, how long he eats, and if there were any eat issues (spit up, etc.). I have been also writing down what time I start his nap time prep (Swaddling, holding, laying him down), and what time he actually falls asleep (I watch this on my video monitor). It is also helpful to record any other information such as temperature in the room, the noise level in the house, or other environmental issues that might be effecting the nap. I then keep the daily schedule log in a 3-ring binder so I can go back and look at what Haydon’s schedules have been like in the past.

If you would like to do the same- here is a PDF of the daily schedule sheet that I have been using.
Daily Schedule Log

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Here is how I vary the toys and the play locations throughout the day. I hope this well help give you some ideas.

In the playroom, I have toys in plastic containers with lids. The containers with toys are all kept on shelves I bought from Walmart for $15 each. We have 4 shelves (with 3 shelves each).  I only let them get out two containers at a time. I also have a play kitchen in the playroom and a small table and chair set in the playroom.
Toys we have in each container are:
– Wooden Train Set
– Playfood, Cups, Bowls, and other kitchen items
– Plastic Animals
– Building Legos
– Medium Sized Cars
– Puzzles
– Toddler Toys in 2 different boxes (various toddler toys)
– Little People Items

In my son’s room, he has a few toys. The toys are arranged in plastic containers with lids too. He is allowed to choose 2-3 different type of toys to have out during roomtime. The rest stay on his shelves in their containers and are not played with. The kids also do sibling playtime in Coopers room a few times a week- and the same rules apply, only 2-3 types of toys out at a time.
– McQueen Cars (from the Movie Cars)
– Chuck Car items
– Marble Run
– Books
– Other Match Box Cars
– Felt Roads & Play Rug with Roads
– Tag Junior
– Vet Clinic Toy
– Stuffed Animals

In the Girls’ Room, they have a few toys. I store all their toys in their closet. They still have IPT in their cribs. I usually allow them 2 types of toys and some books during IPT. They toys stored in their closets are:
– Little People Sets
– Little People Builder Blocks and Sets
– Light & Sounds Toys (electronics)
– Playfood
– Babydoll items
– Books
– Stacking toys & Shape sorters

In the Gameroom, I store all their educational materials, art supplies, and other table activities. I have it stored in an entertainment system with doors. I have things in plastic containers with lids marked with what time of things are inside. We don’t really have any other toys in the gameroom because we don’t play too much up their yet because I cannot keep an eye on them in there if I am down stairs working (game is upstairs).

In the living room, I have a basket of random toys- some cars, some stuffed animals, some little people stuff, some other toys (doctor kit, etc). They can take anything out of the basket when we are in the living room, but it all has to be put back when we leave the room.

In my bathroom, I have a small tub of toys for when I am getting ready in the morning or during bathtime. I usually bathe all the kids at the same time, but they don’t all get in the tub at the same time so I need toys to keep the occupied during bath time. I have books, cars, and a few small toddler-ish toys in there.

In the kitchen, I have a few leap frog toys on the fridge and I also have some file folder games, busy bag activity, quiet books, and play dough items all stored in my pantry. That way if I need a quick table time activity for a time of transition or while I am cooking dinner, I can quickly pull them out.

What I have found, is even though I don’t rotate all the toys, I think allowing them only a few toys at a time helps. Having them play in the playroom, bedroom, and living room at different times of day helps too. I think that free play, Independent Play Time, and table time/ blanket time help to keep it interesting. I also do outside play every day and try to include a walk. So variety of activities, organized toys, and not allowing them to play with too many things really helps to keep the kids happy and having fun throughout the day. The toys don’t get as boring this way.

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I realize it has been a while since I updated the schedules I have kept with my Son, now 3 years-old, and my twins, now 18 months-old. So here are the updated schedules. These schedules are just the bare bone schedules which include, eating, sleeping, and waking times. For a more detailed schedule that consists of a break down of various activities, please see the other posts below.

Babywise Schedules by Month (Version 1: My Son)
Babywise Schedules by Month (Version 2: My Twin Girls)

Structuring Your Toddler’s Day When Taking Two Naps A Day
Structuring Your Toddler’s Day When Taking One Nap A Day

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When it comes to schedules, I love them. I cannot say enough about them. So what’s so good about a schedule?

1. Children thrive off routine. They like to know what is coming. It helps to them to feel secure and safe when things follow a routine and pattern.
2. Schedules help parents (especially mom) know when to schedule doctors visits, appointments, and outings because they know when their child is going to nap or eat.
3. Schedules help to ensure your infant/ toddler gets the proper rest with regular nap and sleep times.
4. Schedules also help to ensure that you are feeding your infant frequently to ensure proper nutrition and growth.
5. If you have multiple children, schedules are a must! They keep you from going nuts. You are able to juggle your children’s various needs and ensure they are not just roaming the house all day long. It keeps the kids happier and it keeps mom sane! The structure also helps cut down the bad behavior.
6. Schedules also help to vary the days activities up with a good mix of different types of play and learning.

I have written several posts about schedules- Check them out!

The following two links contain babywise schedules from birth-toddler:
Babywise Schedules by Month (Version 1: My Son)

Babywise Schedules by Month (Version 2: My Twin Girls)
2-3-4 Nap Schedule for Older Babies

The following two links contain schedules and toddlerwise schedules that are appropriate for an older infant and toddlers:
Structuring a Toddler’s Day (when on one nap a day)
Structuring Your Toddler’s Day (when on two naps a day)

The following two links contain schedule suggestions for how to juggle multiple children of different ages:
Newborn & Toddler Combo Schedule & Juggling A Newborn with a Toddler

The following link contains an average amount of sleep that infants and toddlers should get. Please keep in mind these are averages. Some will sleep more while others will sleep less:
Sleep Requirements for Infants & Toddlers

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I have to say, I feel like I have a pretty good schedule running for my kids every day. I like the balance of activities and it keeps them from getting bored and having too many discipline issues. See my post Structuring a Toddler’s Day for some ideas on how to create a balanced schedule for your older infant and toddler.

Where the day falls apart or does not run as smoothly is at times of transition or when we move from one activity to the next. For instance, the time in between breakfast and Independent Playtime or Structured Learning was not going very well. I was just letting the kids play in the kitchen or playroom while I cleaned up breakfast, but I found that was allowing them too much free play and often that “unstructured” time led to fights or discipline issues. I also did not want them pulling out a lot of toys and creating a mess while I was trying to clean up the kitchen and get them ready to move to the next activity. I just did not want to create more mess to clean up. I am sure you can appreciate that as a mom.

I asked my Baby Center Babywise Group how to handle these times of transition, and one mom gave me such a good idea. She told me to give them an activity to keep then occupied at the table while I clean up from the meal we just ate or while they wait to go outside and play, etc. What a simple solution, right? Well, sort of. I needed to come up with some activities that would hold my one-year old twins and my 2.5 year-old’s attention for 5-10 minutes while they stayed in their highchairs or seated at the table.

I came up with some activities that have worked so I thought I would share them with you. All the activities must be activities that your child can complete without any assistance otherwise, you will spend more time helping your child than getting ready to move to the next activity. So here are some ideas:

  • File Folder Games: Just google free preschool file folder games. You will find a ton you can print. From matching colors to counting from 1-10. Just make sure your child is able to complete these games on his or her own. You may have to play the file folder game a few times prior to using this as a transition activity so your child is familiar with how to play the game and able to complete or his own.
  • Puzzles: These are great transition activities. They are little mess, fun, and are easy to complete at the table.
  • Books: Give your child a small box of 4-5 books to look at the table during transition time.
  • Photo Album: Put pictures of your family and extended family in a photo album for your child to look at while you are moving from one activity to the next.
  • Sorting Activity: Give your child a few objects to sort into different bowls. You can use pompoms, fruitloops, different colored blocks, etc.
  • Book on Tape/CD: This is a great activity for transitions. You can rent books on tape at your local library or you can record your own voice reading a book for your child to listen to. You will need to teach your child how to turn the pages along with the read-aloud prior to using this as a transition activity.
  • Flash Cards: I bought some flash cards at the dollar store and at target’s dollar bin and punch a whole in the corner and put them on a key ring. They kids love to flip through and look at the various pictures on the flash cards. I also own some touch and feel flash cards that my kids LOVE so much!
  • Texture Box: This works well for younger toddlers. Take various different materials and textures and glue them on some index cards and store them in a shoe box. You toddler will enjoy taking them out and feeling the different textures.
  • Quiet Book: Google quiet book for different ideas on how to put together your own quiet book for your child. I have not actually made my own quiet book yet, but I have a binder with some quick activities that my 2.5 year old can do on his own, which is similar to a quiet book.
  • Matching: Give your child some cards you can do some matching activities with. There are tons of free matching games out there that you can print off the internet- just google free preschool matching games.

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If you are anticipating a newborn, I bet you are wondering how you can possibly juggle the needs are two different children. Here is my suggestions:

1. Write your current child’s schedule on paper. Then think about how you can incorporate the needs of your newborn into your older child’s schedule.
2. Write out two schedules: One schedule that is a 3 hour schedule and one that is a 2.5 hour schedule. The 3 hour schedule is the goal and the one you hope to maintain, but you might need to feed more frequently in the beginning and also you might have a few growth spurts where you will need to feed more often. It is helpful to have a game plan for either situation.

Here are the schedules that I kept. I hope you find them helpful.

1-4 week old & 19 Month Old
(3 Hour Schedule)

7:00 Nurse, Followed by one-on-one time with Molly
7:45-10:00 Nap
8:00 Wake Up & Free Play
8:30 Breakfast
9:00 Outside Play

10:00 Nurse, Followed by one-on-one time with Anna
10:00- 11:00 IPT
10:45-1:00 Nap
11:00 Structured Learning/ Play
11:30 Free Play
12:00 Lunch
12:30 Read Stories, Potty, Get Ready for Nap

1:00 Nurse, Followed by laying on the floor with Both Girls
1:00-4:00 Nap
1:45-4:00 Nap

4:00 Nurse, Followed by hanging out in bouncers
4:00 Snack & DVD in gameroom on blanket (Modified blanket time)
4:45-7:00 Nap
5:00 One-on-One time with Mommy
5:30 Outside Play/ Play with Daddy if he gets home on time
6:00 Dinner
6:30 Free Play

7:00 Nurse
7:00 Play with Daddy
7:30 Family Play
8:00 Bedtime
8:00 Bedtime Routine
8:30 Bedtime

8:30-10:00 Adult Time with No Kids
10:00 Nurse, Right Back To Bed (treat like a dreamfeed)

This is my 2.5 hour schedule that I used when the girls were about 6 weeks old. I did this for schedule for about 3 weeks when they hit a HUGE growth spurt. I also went back to this schedule a few times during other growth spurt seasons.

Twins: 6-9 weeks old, Cooper: 30 Months Old
(2.5 Hour Schedule)

7:00 Nurse & one-on-one time with Molly
7:50- 9:30 Nap
8:00 Wake & Free Play
8:30 Breakfast
9:00 Outside Play

9:30 Nurse & one-on-one time with Anna
9:30-10:30 IPT
10:20- 12:00 Nap
10:30 Structured Learning/ Play
11:00 Free Play

12:00 Nurse (I nursed in the room right next to the kitchen so I could see Cooper) & Hang out in bouncers in kitchen
12:00 Lunch & DVD
12:50- 2:30 Nap
12:50 Get Ready for nap (sort version)
1:00-4:00 Nap

2:30 Nurse & hang out on floor with both girls
3:20- 5:00 Nap
4:00 Snack & One-on-One time with Mommy

5:00 Nurse
5:00 Blanket Time in Game room with DVD (modified blanket time)
5:30 Sibling Play with Mommy in Gameroom
5:50- 7:00 Nap
5:30 Outside Play/ Play with Daddy if he gets home on time
6:00 Dinner
6:30 Free Play

7:00 Nurse
7:00 Play with Daddy
7:30 Family Play
8:00 Bedtime
8:00 Bedtime Routine
8:30 Bedtime

8:30-10:00 Adult Time with No Kids
10:00 Nurse, Right Back To Bed (treat like a dreamfeed)

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