Morning Routine Tips for Toddlers

Toddler years are full of excitement, discovery, learning and growing.  These little people are discovering themselves and the world around them.  It is a time for much exploration and development. 

While some morning routine needs to be established, it is essential to know your child, be aware of his stage in development – mentally and physically; for every toddler is an individual and family circumstances and environments are variable.  It is best to establish a routine that will serve them in their adult lives also rather than to attempt introduce new “grown up” routines later.   

The following are offered as guidelines only. The masculine “he” has been used but applies to both sexes:

On waking up

When the child wakes up talk to him, find out and check how he is, engage in some small talk with the child. Tell him what he is going to do next or what is happening.  Ideally you would have started some kind of potty training for your toddler child.  When he wakes up it is suggested that you take him to sit on the potty first.  Let him take his time and do not appear anxious for him to produce something, if he stands up on his own or if does not produce anything it’s alright.  Help him to wipe correctly as necessary.

Help the child to wash hands.  There is likely to be clumsiness but at this early stage you want to establish the principle and the finer details of hand-washing technique may take time.  It is advisable to help the child with a quick wash to freshen up.  It may be necessary to give him a quick bath if he is wet or soiled.  Teach/help the child to brush their teeth, again show him the right way to brush teeth.  Always interact with him, they may not understand all you are saying but they get the message and besides, it’s great for them to hear the parent or caregiver’s voice.

What to eat

One of the challenges facing parents and toddler caregivers are meal times and encouraging the child to eat right. Avoid feeding the child while standing or walking about.  If possible, have him sit in the same position, so that in time he learns to identify that with eating times.  You may wish to eat with him or let him eat with other family members so that he appreciates meal times and eating with others.  Again, interact with the child, encourage him to eat, let him know what he is eating, etc.  Let the child hold cup to drink and feed himself even if he makes a mess of it.  The following are some suggested foods ideal for breakfast; try to give variety and to present it attractively.    

Yogurt

Milk/shakes

Smoothie

Porridge

Cereal

Bacon and egg sandwich

Boiled/scrambled egg

Orange segments

French toast

Fruit

After eating encourage the child to take plates/cups/cutlery to the sink.

Morning activities

After eating you may wish to encourage the child to use the potty again, particularly if they produced nothing earlier then let the child “free play”.  This is a time of wondering around the house and generally exploring their surroundings.  Be safety conscious and make the environment safe for him.  Try not to use too many “don’ts” when the child is playing, simply make the surroundings safe to play in  

Depending on your routine around the house, most toddlers are quite happy to be playing in the vicinity while you do some household chores.  Appropriate toys may be brought out or a visit to the nearby park may be a welcome option; weather permitting. 

If your child goes to a nursery school make sure he/she has a well-stocked bag of the nursery school requirements.