MicroBlog Monday: Routine vs Schedule

In middle school, the bells would ring at oddly specific times for us to switch classes with just enough time to get to our lockers and back. Every nuance of my day was scheduled for me so they could get the absolute exact number of “instructional minutes” in each day. (Yet the teachers could choose not to instruct us and put on a movie instead…)

As a nanny, I quickly found that children thrive on a predictable routine. Times don’t have to be set into stone, it’s impossible to get anything done at an exact time with kids anyway, but knowing what comes next helps them learn what is expected of them. As a parent, I had to figure out that routine for ourselves, on my own with a high needs baby. As soon as I heard about it, I tried him on the 2-3-4 routine and it helped to get his naps arranged in the day.

Now that he has one nap a day and is an opinionated toddler, I have set alarms on my phone for nap and bed times. At 12:30 and 8, the alarm goes off and we clean up, go potty, and get ready for sleep. It is a miracle that he (mostly) complies and knows the routine. It helps me keep him to his regular times and not push it back in the name of fun or lunch, creating an overtired monster in the process.


Last night, a cookie was part of the bedtime routine but a storm made it so he didnt fall asleep until 10:30!

How do you keep your daily routines going? Does life necessitate a strict schedule?

About JennP

Single mom by choice, lesbian, natural living, parenting, car free, Chicago.Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment!
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14 Responses to MicroBlog Monday: Routine vs Schedule

  1. Lindsay says:

    Before Evelyn was born, I was one of those people who said, “Oh, MY child will confirm to MY schedule, not the other way around!” Ha! Ha ha! I’ve learned that my life currently has a schedule that is based on Evelyn’s needs. She generally naps from 11:30-2 on weekends (12-2 weekdays at school), and then is in bed around 7:30 each night. She likes having a predictable schedule. And although she is good with rolling with the punches when we travel and get out of our routine, she is always SO much happier when we’re at home and in our routine/groove.

    Of course weekdays, we HAVE to stick to a schedule or else we’ll be constantly late to school/work!

  2. I think it’s important to pay attention to our kids’ needs. It really irks me when parents just drag their kids around on their own whims and don’t count sleep and security as a valid need. Then again, they must like the constant meltdowns and bad moods…

  3. Lindsay says:

    I know a couple people like that – dragging their kids everywhere no matter what time of day/night. Either they have super easy going kids, or they just don’t care about the meltdowns that come with that!

  4. Yeh I know a lot of people who just don’t bother getting their kids to nap or having a regular routine. I also know some people who have later schedules and their kids do okay on it.

  5. kayrosey says:

    For Ali’s first year, I was crazy strict with keeping her on a schedule. Sometimes, well often, it sucked for me because I was so limited in what I could do, but having a happy baby was more important in the long run. Now that we are nearing the end of her second year, I’ve eased up a bit on nap times, there is a .5-1 hour leeway now. Mealtimes are different. 1 minut late and I have a hangry beast on my hands.

  6. The first year I just focused on keeping us alive and him not screaming his head off. There was no schedule! Sleep I can have a half hour variance with but meals aren’t on much of a schedule, more of a light routine. I always carry snacks so I don’t get a migraine or have a hangry child.

  7. kayrosey says:

    We generally don’t do snacks between meals, except for one at 4p. If I do give her a steady stream of snacks, she doesn’t eat her meals.

  8. I try to keep it so there is time between eating but I can’t make it between meals without snacks myself. Or like if he didn’t finish his breakfast he can eat it when he is hungry. Today he had grapes, two pieces of gf French toast, and half of a medium sweet potato in fry form. He nurses twice but the first time was barely anything. We usually have a snack after nap and then dinner by 6. Sometimes, like last night’s cookie, there is a snack before bed, but usually healthier. He is still little for his age and I want to keep him growing. A year of failure to thrive can take a while to recover (me) from even with feeding therapy.

  9. Mel says:

    We keep a pretty strict schedule during the school year, but all flies out the window in the summer. I try to get them to finish up work first thing in the morning after breakfast, though that isn’t always possible. Their bedtime also is pretty slippery in the summer. It always makes me feel like I’m forgetting something in the summer.

  10. I remember it being like that when I was a kid too. Since my mom is a teacher, there was pretty much no structure in the summers. Wonderful and challenging all at once. With no work or school for me right now, I use a white board in the kitchen for to do list, groceries, and food I need to make or eat. That keeps me getting things done and feeling productive when I use it.

  11. Journeywoman says:

    We try, but often times my daughter gives schedules the proverbial finger. She will nap at school–sometimes, but won’t when we’re around. My husband (also an adoptee) thinks it is adoption related. I just think we’re more fun.

  12. kayrosey says:

    Oh, I’m sure I’d be much more lenient with that if Ali had issues! She’d be likely to eat a boatload of cereal and craisins and nothing else if it were up to her, so I gotta put limits on it.

  13. I limit to only one of something each day so he can’t just eat cereal or noodles and sauce. I didn’t even give him cereal until he was over 1!

  14. Sweet Pea is pretty relaxed and easy going. Her first year, I let her set her own schedule, but I followed her ques and set a routine. Now our routine is pretty solid, but late. If she misses a nap, it’s not that big of a deal. She won’t melt down, and bed time is a little easier. Meal time isn’t that big of a deal for us either, I let her eat when she’s hungry. She eats a small breakfast, and then eats lunch before nap. Then usually a little snack before dinner. Then sometimes she wants dinner, sometimes she doesn’t. Then usually a snack before bed.

    My parents gave me a very unhealthy relationship with food by forcing me to eat, even when I wasn’t hungry. It was always a fight. I’m not going to do that with her. If she’s not hungry, I won’t make her eat, and it won’t be a cause of stress for her.

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