Structuring My Toddler’s Day (Teaching Your Toddler Part 2 of 4)


Welcome back to Teaching Your Toddler, Part 2!

Here I’m going to cover the basic outline of my toddler’s day.  Gabriel, who will be three in October, is my oldest child.  Without any older siblings to run around with, he gets bored easily.  And boredom = trouble… or too much TV… one or the other.

Shortly after he turned two, I got tired of him asking to watch movies all the time.  So I made up this hands-on To-Do list (one for the morning and one for the afternoon).  I included specific times where he gets undivided, one-on-one attention with Mom (which wasn’t happening on a regular basis) and specific things he could do in the background while I got ‘grown-up’ things done.  Every time he completes a task, he gets to pull off the related picture (attached by a Velcro tab).  When each list is done, we celebrate with an M&M.

It’s been life-changing.  He now knows that movies only come at appointed times, and that there are other things to do in life.  I believe everyone, even little people, are empowered by accomplishing things.  This list gives him a way of visualizing it.  He’s rarely bored now and with more variance in his day, even attitude problems have diminished.  Things he used to battle me on (brushing teeth, for instance), he now does cheerfully because it’s “on his list”.

I should mention that this list is not comprehensive.  There are plenty of unscheduled things we do throughout the day.  He works alongside me throughout the day, helping me to prepare meals and fold (er, jump in) the laundry.  But it gives us a framework to work around, and it lets us watch a guilt-free movie in the evening because we know we’ve spent the rest of our day well.

Here’s the current routine we follow.


Potty Time


Brush Teeth

Reading with Mom – (Read about how I organize that *here*)

School Time with Mom – (Read about how I organize that *here*)

Catechism (he gets a smartie for saying it, in case you were wondering about the picture)

An Educational Movie -while Mom picks up the house!  (read about my thoughts on why I think TV time CAN be constructive)


Pick-Up Toys




Potty Time

Basket Toy – (Read about how I organize my kids toys *here*)

Room Time (he has that castle tent in his bedroom, hence the picture)


Pick Up Toys


Bathe (if needed)

Potty Time


UPDATE:  I have since added Outside Time to our daily routine.  You can read about what we do for that *here*.


Eventually, I assume Potty Time won’t have to be on there so much, but we’re still at the stage where reminders are still necessary.  Putting it on the list has made him a much more willing participant.

What about you?  I’d love to hear how you’ve structured your toddler’s day!

11 thoughts on “Structuring My Toddler’s Day (Teaching Your Toddler Part 2 of 4)

  1. Sangita says:

    This is very inspiring! I work from home 2days/ week and try to get my 4yr and myself on a schedule! To say the least, I don’t get much work done. I’ve tried to make a schedule, but find it so hard to stick to it. How do you actually get these accomplished?

    • Thanks for reading, Sangita! I’m always tweaking our schedule since life with little kids is always changing and what you need one month may be entirely different from the next. Just keep your goals handy so you can see where you’re going and have your routine mapped out somewhere so you can jump back on when you get side-tracked. Also, be sure your to-do-list is actually feasible and you don’t have more things on there than hours in the day. Other than that, keep doing your best and try to make each day a little better than the last. Remember that your schedule is there to help YOU become a better wife, homekeeper, and mother. It’s NOT there to beat you over the head and remind you what a failure you are all the time. Hope that helps!

  2. Tricia Regar says:

    This is awesome, too! I love your blog! 😀 (Btw, I found your blog through Joanna.)

  3. Alicia says:

    Hi Kelsey…your blog, simple and very smart at the same time, is very inspiring for moms like me (I have a 2yo daughter and I sincerely thought I was the only one getting bored through the day and frustrated cause I could not keep her motivated and happy and also I could not finish my house chores lol). thanks a lot for your ideas, God bless you a lot and your wonderful kids, Alicia

  4. Kristin O says:

    Love this- I have two boys (almost 4 and 15 mo.) and it seems that my 3 3/4 year old desperately NEEDS some structure in his day & life and does so much better when things aren’t chaotic. Thanks for giving a template for us to use!

  5. Kelly says:

    What is your picture chart made of?

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