Toddler schedules. Love ’em or hate ’em? If you’re reading this your toddler’s schedule is most likely what makes or breaks your day. As a mama, a teacher, and someone who fanatically researches everything, let me tell you that your toddler craves routine and predictability in his day! Yep. Even on the weekends.
If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to check out my post about how I set a schedule for my toddler on a typical weekday. (There’s even a free printable to get you started. For real. Check it out!)
Children, and especially toddlers, need predictability in their daily lives.
When they can predict what’s coming next they behave better, play better, sleep better, eat better, and learn better.
(Usually, of course. I’m no magician.)
I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get when it comes to motherhood! That’s why we try to stick to the schedule.
But maybe, my friend, you’ve run headfirst into the Wall. It’s called the weekend, and if you’re not careful it will make you throw all that hard work and progress right out the window!
Yep, one crazy weekend can ruin your toddler’s routine.
How do I know? Well, because I’ve been there! When my son was a bit younger we had serious sleep issues. Sleep training was a long, exhausting road for us. On account of all that lost sleep I lost, I got into the habit of letting our weekends just happen as they may. Wake up late, stay in PJs, you know.
Our routines just didn’t happen on the weekends. Did it necessarily mean we had a horrible Saturday or a no good Sunday? Not really. But I can tell you that the weekdays after that weekend were noticeably more difficult.
So what’s a mama to do? Today I’ll teach you four secrets (that I learned the hard way) to not only keep your toddler’s schedule on track for the weekend, but have a whole lotta fun, too!
Overwhelmed at home with your baby, toddler, or preschooler? Help is here! Download my Everyday Calm eBook and Printable Pack bundle, and learn simple mindsets and routines to conquer the chaos at home with kids.
Wake ‘Em Up
Alright, don’t throw your phone at me. Yes, the first secret is a doozie. If your toddler usually wakes up at around 7:30 or 8:00 on the week days, you’ve got to make sure he wakes up at that time on Saturday and Sunday too! I know this is impossibly bad news for some of you, but trust me, it’s so necessary.
If you let him sleep in, he’ll nap late. If you let him nap late, he’ll go to bed late. Just think about it this way. You’re not really losing alone time in the morning if you’re gaining alone time at night, right?
Just wake that kiddo up with a happy song. You’ve got adventures to tackle today!
(P.S. Can I share a bonus secret with you? My little guy loves waking up on Sunday because he gets to worship Jesus and play with his friends at church! Don’t have a church? Try one this weekend! It’s amazing what a gathering with a community of believers can do for your family.)
Stick to the Routine
One of the most vital parts of our day is the first 15 minutes out of bed. For my little man, I use a chore chart. There are just a few simple toddler-aged chores that he must complete before we get on with the rest of our day. We do a few (like make the bed and feed the kitty) before breakfast. Then we knock out the rest (such as brush teeth and get dressed) after breakfast is done.
I’ve found that when we start with a good attitude about these chores- which honestly doesn’t happen easily some days!- then the whole day goes much more smoothly.
If you usually spend time playing outside on the weekdays, take the whole family outside or on an errand Saturday morning! Is after-nap time your weekday indoor and learning time? Then find something fun the family can enjoy together late Saturday afternoon.
Will you be able to keep your routine 100%? Probably not, and that’s ok! The point is to have a general game plan for the weekend that looks vaguely like what your toddler is used to.
You’ll get more done. Your toddler will be in a better mood. And that means the rest of the family will be in a better mood too. Yes, please!
Empower Others to Rock the Toddler Schedule Too!
One of the unique opportunities about weekends is that my son gets to be with my husband and extended family for a much longer time than usual. During the week, my hubby works hard. He’s so great at playing with our little guy when he gets home. But for most of the day, it’s just me and my little man playing, learning, and working.
One of the most important ways we spend time during the week is reading aloud. I love reading to my son. He loves pretty much any book you sit in front of him, and that connection that we share when we read is so special to me.
(Psst… learn how to read aloud like a pro with my free email course!)
But on the weekends, I want him to share special time with Daddy too! How can I empower my husband and others to create special time with my little guy in their own unique way, yet not wreck our routine?
- For starters, I make sure to have plenty of “boy” books around. You know those books full of bugs and wiggly squirmy things that Mommy hates to read? Pass off storytime to Daddy, give him a perfect “boy” book to read, and watch the magic happen.
- My husband is a stickler for nap time like me. We both know that a good nap for our little man is important, even on the weekends. So if my hubby wants to take our son on a special weekend trip for just the boys, we say go for it! We just go before or after nap time 🙂
It’s all about empowering the other caregivers to carve out quality time with your toddler. Focus on one area that’s really important to you. Is it reading? Outside play? Make it super easy for others to do that activity with your toddler. You just have to help them find the perfect time slot in the schedule and help your toddler know what to expect.
(Am I saying that you should spoon feed your hubby parenting skills? Nope, nope, nope. He’s a grown man. He can handle it. It’s about empowerment.)
Do Something Fun
What’s the weekend without fun? There are a limited number of weekends that you’ll have with your child before they leave for college (940 to be exact. *don’t cry, don’t cry*). Fun and schedules can coexist peacefully, I promise you.
Try this: plan just one fun and out of the ordinary activity for the weekend. You don’t have to fill up every single moment of time with planned activities. Just one. Make it Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon after naps. Or do what we often do and try a fun thing when we wake up from our naps after church and Sunday lunch!
Don’t rush it. Just plan something simple. Relax. Have fun!
Don’t let the weekend crush your routine!
Try these four secrets to rock a toddler schedule for the weekend. I’d love to know how you make a toddler schedule work when it comes to crazy weekends. Share your tips below!