How to Make a Daily Schedule Chart for Toddlers

by Maggie McCormick, Demand Media
    Knowing when she'll get a snack can help her feel more secure.

    Knowing when she'll get a snack can help her feel more secure.

    Routines keep toddlers happy, and the more consistent your routine, the more comfortable your child will be. Creating a daily schedule chart helps your child visualize what will happen throughout the day, but it can also act as an impartial task master that painlessly whips your toddler into shape. He doesn't want to get dressed? You can point to the schedule and throw your hands in the air like it's out of control. Nap time troubles? Point out that after nap, he'll get to go outside.

    Items you will need

    • Poster board
    • Markers
    • Camera
    • Photographs

    Step 1

    Choose the most important tasks in your child's day. Charting every little thing your child does might seem overwhelming, especially if he stays home instead of going to preschool or day care. For example, you might include "getting ready for the day" as one activity, rather than including separate spaces for eating breakfast, brushing teeth and getting dressed.

    Step 2

    Take pictures of your child doing each activity. Unless you're child's extremely advanced, he won't be reading for a few years. If you want him to understand the schedule chart, you'll need pictures. Using actual pictures of him taking a nap or playing with toys can help him relate to the chart.

    Step 3

    Draw an outline of the chart. A large posterboard works best because it offers the most space. If you do the same thing most days, consider just creating a daily chart, but if you do different things on different days, then a weekly chart will work best.

    Step 4

    Place the pictures within the outline. Glue the photos of your child doing each activity in the order he'll do them throughout the day.

    Tips

    • You can include specific times for the activities if you want, but most toddlers do not have a clear understanding of time and only need to know what comes next.
    • It's important to include a nap time or quiet time, depending on how much your child sleeps at night. Toddlers need between 10 and 13 hours of sleep each day, according to KidsHealth.org.
    • Some ideas of things to include on the schedule are meal and snack times, active play time, quiet play time, bath time and sleep times.

    About the Author

    Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

    Photo Credits

    • John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images