How structured is your toddler's day? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 10-14-2009, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS2 is 16 months old. We will have to be getting a new nanny in the next couple of months (old nanny finishing college and looking for a job in her field), so I've started thinking about how I will be describing our routine to a new person. I'm realizing we do a lot of "hanging out" and now I'm worried we should have more "activities." I could also be buying in to my area's preoccupation with showing your love (and how much money you have!) by doing tons of things.

He wakes up at 730 am; hangs around while I tidy the kitchen 'til 8. Our family room is babyproofed and he has lots of toys, books and a couple of ride-ons in there, plus the dogs, an endless source of amusement.

8 'til about 830 is breakfast. Nanny arrives at 830.

I go to my home office to work, they hang around and do more playing, sometimes in the family room, sometimes in the upstairs playroom, until 1030, when they go to a Gymboree class.

1130, arrive home from Gymboree. A little more hanging around until 12, when lunch is. Lunch is over at 1230.

More hanging around until 1 or 130, depending on how tired he's acting, then a nap, usually until about 3.

Big brother home at three, more general playing, this time with DS1, who is 11, 'til 5, then DS1 goes to do homework and I begin dinner puttering. I will usually put on Noggin. DS keeps occupied with sometimes looking at TV, pushing his rideons around, playing with his cars.

Dinner between 6 and 630, DH has some daddy time with both boys until 715, when I put DS to bed.

Should there be more structured activities in there? Should I do art or creative projects with him, or otherwise slice up his time into "directed pursuits?"

I was going to sub one Gymboree class a week for toddler storytime at the library, but it was going to be instead of on that day, not both things.

I was at Gymboree on Saturday, and this one little girl kept standing on one foot will holding onto a gym piece, and her mother kept going "good girl - you're doing arabesque from ballet class!"

Ack! Ballet class at 16 months? Am I missing the boat?!

Jane
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#2 of 13 Old 10-14-2009, 09:35 PM
 
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Well,

Sounds alot like my day. I think it seems like he has quite a bit of stimulation to keep him interested. Also interacting with his big brother for some time is very healthy for him. I didn't notice you mention any one on one reading, or maybe this happens at bedtime?

I don't believe in structure persay. I think it is difficult to structure the day of a toddler. Instead I think routine is important. Things they can count on happening that are familiar and lends a pattern to their life and it sounds like your DS has that perfect balance of routine and outside activities.

If you are still feeling unsure, you can try inserting paint time or bubble blowing or water play during one of the free play intervals. This will give him something new to look forward to that will also enhance him learning through play.

:-)
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#3 of 13 Old 10-14-2009, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well,

Sounds alot like my day. I think it seems like he has quite a bit of stimulation to keep him interested. Also interacting with his big brother for some time is very healthy for him. I didn't notice you mention any one on one reading, or maybe this happens at bedtime?

I don't believe in structure persay. I think it is difficult to structure the day of a toddler. Instead I think routine is important. Things they can count on happening that are familiar and lends a pattern to their life and it sounds like your DS has that perfect balance of routine and outside activities.

If you are still feeling unsure, you can try inserting paint time or bubble blowing or water play during one of the free play intervals. This will give him something new to look forward to that will also enhance him learning through play.

:-)
Thanks for your reply!

We actually do a lot of reading during our hanging around times. He has books in the family room and the playroom. He will pick them up and bring them over on his own, or his nanny or I will ask him "do you want to read a book? Go pick one" and he will.

I also realized I forgot to include in my post that we have a large patio right outside the familyroom with a sandbox and a sand/water table, and a playset with a swing across the yard. On nice days he will go out there at least once a day.

Around dinner time, if I need something form the garden he will come with me and push trucks around the planter boxes or dig in a bed.

Also, thanks for making it through my post - I just realized how long it is!

Jane
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#4 of 13 Old 10-14-2009, 10:13 PM
 
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Oh Great! I'm glad you appreciated my reply! It is so tricky to make sure not to offend on the boards!

It sounds like your DS has a rich and wonderful life! Congrats Mama!
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#5 of 13 Old 10-14-2009, 10:16 PM
 
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Some toddlers get antsy without a lot of structure. If yours is happy with the way things are, you can stick with that!
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#6 of 13 Old 10-14-2009, 10:38 PM
 
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My Dds day isn't too structured. I makes sure she does one "project" every day- usually painting or baking. I also make sure she plays with other kids once a day, I invite a friend over, unless it's a day that I nanny. But other than that, she is free to do what she wants.

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#7 of 13 Old 10-15-2009, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm feeling a bit better - no one else has reported ballet lessons for the under 2s!

I'm also realizing that we scaled back my older DS's structured activities too, rec soccer instead of travel soccer (which was a 4 day commitment!), guitar lessons with "Mike" (aka Jerry Garcia) instead of guitar and school chorus. He's really enjoying some downtime, vegetable gardening with me, woodworking and fishing with his dad.

It's so hard not to get sucked into the mentality of packing something into every minute, otherwise you don't looooove your child!

Jane
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#8 of 13 Old 10-15-2009, 10:37 AM
 
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You are going to Gymboree every day? That sounds like a lot of structure to me! I try to keep a consistent rhythm to the day by keeping our eating and sleeping times about the same, but what we do in between changes... or isn't planned at all. We go to a couple of play groups a week but they are just a chance for all of the kids to play together.

I try to do a craft-type activity every day, but it is mainly for the older kids and not my little one. But even that isn't structured - it is more like "here is some paint.... fill your boots!"

We recently started a Kindermusik class that my DD LOVED, but unfortunately the teacher had to cancel the class due to her illness. I am trying to find something to replace it.

There is a local dance place that starts "classes" at 2 years old, but it is more just movement and play and parents participate. I don't think they start actual "dance' until 4 or 5. Maybe that kid at Gymboree just looked younger??

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

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#9 of 13 Old 10-15-2009, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You are going to Gymboree every day? That sounds like a lot of structure to me! I try to keep a consistent rhythm to the day by keeping our eating and sleeping times about the same, but what we do in between changes... or isn't planned at all. We go to a couple of play groups a week but they are just a chance for all of the kids to play together.

I try to do a craft-type activity every day, but it is mainly for the older kids and not my little one. But even that isn't structured - it is more like "here is some paint.... fill your boots!"

We recently started a Kindermusik class that my DD LOVED, but unfortunately the teacher had to cancel the class due to her illness. I am trying to find something to replace it.

There is a local dance place that starts "classes" at 2 years old, but it is more just movement and play and parents participate. I don't think they start actual "dance' until 4 or 5. Maybe that kid at Gymboree just looked younger??
Yes, he goes to Gymboree every day - I think it's also a social thing for my nanny - LOL. He seems to enjoy it, and it is literally 2 minutes from our house, so I'm fine with it.

The little arabesque girl couldn't have been older than 22 months, as that is the upper limit of the age range for the Gymboree class.

If you're not against TV, there is a show on Noggin called Jacks Big Music Show, where puppets play music in a particular genre every day - DS loves it and shakes his jingle bells and maracas while dancing to it. I also pick him up and dance with him and jiggle him in time to the music - maybe it's on in your area? I think they have a record to - search it on itunes.

Jane
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#10 of 13 Old 10-15-2009, 11:46 AM
 
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my childs day is far too unstructered.

wake up about 7:30-8. have breakfast.

nap at 11, sometimes 1 if she is being good.

lunch at 12 or 1 depending on when she takes her nap.

play til daddy gets home around 4:30.

dinner at 6 sometimes earlier if its ready.

and then sleep at 7:30-8. Depending on her mood.

and thats it. we dont have two cars so i cant go anywhere during the day. we do take walks sometimes, but its been pouring here this week. I am trying to get some semblance of a schedule for when the new baby comes.

wild.gifCrazy Chef-in-training baking wife(27) of geek.gif (32) mother of 2 energy.gif 11-21-03 & 9 - 13 - 07
 
 
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#11 of 13 Old 10-15-2009, 01:03 PM
 
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Yeah, I think his day sounds pretty structured.

I take dd to a music class once a week (when it is in session, maybe half the year?) and we just started a once-a-week tumbling class, but it only goes for 6-8 weeks.

She is in daycare 2 days a week, so she does art projects and more structured play there. At home it's mostly unstructured play. I hate to admit that I haven't even bought her any paints...she has never painted at home.

If you were going to change something, maybe add an art/sensory activity with the nanny during some of the play time. There are lots of activity books out there, or internet resources.

I also like to do play dates and walks/outside play with my lo. It's nice to hang out with other children and mamas and gives us a chance to practice social skills.
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#12 of 13 Old 10-15-2009, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree with those of you who have suggested an art activity. He already draws with colored chalk on an easel in the playroom, but I'd really like to get him into more sensory art, like smooshing through fingerpaints or clay.

How old were others' LOs when they started with those items? Did you have to worry about them getting the supplies in their mouths? DS is pretty good about taking something OUT of his mouth if I say "not in your mouth," but his first impulse with a lot of "interesting" things is still to put them right in his mouth.

Jane
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#13 of 13 Old 10-15-2009, 06:40 PM
 
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How old were others' LOs when they started with those items? Did you have to worry about them getting the supplies in their mouths? ... his first impulse with a lot of "interesting" things is still to put them right in his mouth.
Hey I was just thinking about posting this the other day. My DS thinks everything is edible. Yesterday his music class teacher offered him a guitar pick so he could play the autoharp with her and it headed straight for his mouth. Luckily she caught it in time, blech!

Your DS's day sounds like fun to me We don't have a schedule per se, usually we're up at 8, go to the gym, come home and snack around 10, play play play and lunch between 12 and 1. Nap time/quiet time is for 2 hours in the afternoon, depending on when we are home from running around shopping or playing. Daddy comes home at 5:30, we eat, and Toby goes to bed at 8. My biggest thing is not ignoring him during the day. He plays so well by himself that lots of times I get wrapped up in important and not important things like the Internet, so when he does want to play with me I get annoyed. Bad mommy!

Kris - married to Nate since 12/06, mom to Toby since 1/08. Also servant to two felines. Done having babies for medical reasons.

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