Scheduling Tips for Babies and Toddlers



When I taught, I learned very quickly that kids do best when they stick to a schedule.  They learn what to expect and feel secure in that.  In having a routine, they also learn to be more independent.

Making sure that a newborn has a schedule will help him sleep better, eat better and be a happier baby.  Having a schedule for a toddler helps with tantrums, although it won't eliminate them. Recognize that each child is different and will need different amounts of attention and have different sleep patterns.

Also--I AM NOT A DOCTOR, JUST A MAMA--so consult your pediatrician with any questions and concerns.  These are just tips that worked well for me and advice I give to my new mama friends.



When scheduling, you need to consider:

  • how much baby needs to eat in a day
  • how much baby needs to sleep in a day
SLEEP AVERAGES:

Chart 1
AgeNighttime SleepDaytime Sleep *Total Sleep
1 month88 (inconsistent)16
3 months105 (3)15
6 months113 1/4 (2)14 1/4
9 months113 (2)14
12 months11 1/42 1/2 (2)13 3/4
18 months11 1/42 1/4 (1)13 1/2
2 years112 (1)13
3 years10 1/21 1/2 (1)12
*Note: number of naps in parentheses
--taken from babycenter.com--

Chart 2

Age

Hours of Sleep
Night SleepDay SleepNo. of Naps*

1 wk.

16VariedVariedVaried

1 mo.

14VariedVariedVaired

3 mos.

138 1/24 1/23-4

6 mos.

12 1/29 1/43 1/42-3

9 mos.

12 1/49 1/22 3/42

12 mos.

11 3/49 1/4 - 10 1/41 1/2- 2 1/21-2

18 mos.

11 5/89 5/821
*(1/2 - 2 hours. each)--taken from parenting.com--
FEEDING REQUIREMENTS:

Chart 1:
Check out Gerber.com for detailed amounts at each age.

Chart 2:
This chart is taken from Similac.com:
FoodStarting ageHow much dailyWhat are good sourcesWhy it is important
Breast milk or formula1,2,3Birth–1 week6–10 feedings of 2–3 fl oz eachBreast milk or formula forms the cornerstone of nutrition in this first year, providing the protein, fat, calcium, vitamins, and minerals your baby needs.Nutrients in breast milk or formula enable your baby to develop a strong immune system and support brain, muscle, bone, and organ growth
1 week–1 month7–8 feedings of 2–4 fl oz each
1–3 months5–6 feedings of 4–5 fl oz each
3–6 months4–5 feedings of 6–7 fl oz each
6–9 months3–4 feedings of 7–8 fl oz each
9–12 months3 feedings of 7–8 fl oz each
Cow's-milk-based foods10–12 months1 serving (1/2 cup yogurt or 3/4 oz cheese)
  • Whole-milk yogurt
  • Cheese
  • At 12 months introduce whole milk (according to AAP).
Provides calcium, vitamins A and D, and protein for growing strong bones
Grains and cereals4–6 months3–4 Tbsp
  • Iron-fortified baby cereals, starting with single-grain cereals first
  • Finger foods, such as teething biscuits, pasta, puffs, and bread
  • At 8–12 months, introduce crackers.
Offers complex carbohydrates, vitamins (B complex), minerals (zinc and magnesium), and fiber your infant needs to fuel activity such as rolling, crawling, and walking
6–12 months4 Tbsp or more
Vegetables6–8 months1 Tbsp per meal, working up to 4–5 Tbsp per day
  • Strained vegetables from 6–8 months
  • At 8 months, introduce vegetable pieces the size of child's thumbnail with the consistency of canned cooked carrots.
Delivers vitamins A, B, and C, trace minerals, fiber, and protein

Vitamin C helps absorb iron.

Vitamin B strengthens the immune system and nervous system and helps with muscle and cell growth.

Vitamin A helps with vision, while fiber assists in digestion.
8–10 months4 Tbsp or more
10–12 months4 to 8 Tbsp
Fruit6–8 months1 Tbsp per meal, working up to 4–5 Tbsp per day
  • Strained fruits or Stage 1 fruits
  • At 8 months, introduce cooked fruit pieces, the size of child's thumbnail or smaller, with the consistency of a baked apple.
Provides vitamins and fiber important to digestive well-being and overall health
8–10 months4 Tbsp or more
10–12 months8–12 Tbsp
Meat/Protein8–10 months1 TbspCooked, pureed meats or poultry, cheese cubes, tofu, or egg yolkEnsures the protein (as well as iron, B vitamins, and zinc) needed to build muscle
10–12 months2–4 Tbsp
Water4–12 months4 oz or moreWater is important for staying hydrated to help keep the excretory system functioning properly. It also helps your baby develop a taste for this basic necessity

When H was first born, he was on a schedule of eat, sleep, repeat. Then as a few weeks went by, it was eat, playtime until fussy, sleep, repeat.  During the day he took about 5-6 naps.  Then slowly his playtime became longer so he went down to 3-4 naps a day.  About 9-12 months he took 2-3 naps a day. 12-15 months 1-2 naps a day.

At 15 months I started letting him take one 3 hour nap a day and then around 18 months he went to one 2 hour nap a day.  He is now 2 and a half and still on that nap schedule. 

SAMPLE TODDLER SCHEDULE
(adjust to your wake time and bedtime)

8:30 Wake up
9:00 Breakfast
9:30 Get dressed
10:00 Outing/errands
11:00 Snack
12:30 Lunch
2:00 Nap time
4:00 Outside play and snack
5:00 Start dinner/independent play time
6:00 Family dinner
6:30 Play time/clean up
7:00 Get ready for bed
7:30 Family story time
8:00 Bed time

Here is a bedtime routine chart I use with my son:
Click for download

Here are some more scheduling tips that may be helpful for your baby's daily routine:

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