Routine with a 16 Month Old

The crazy toddler years are here! Actually, to be honest, when has life not been crazy since having a baby?! Our days are fuller and busier than ever before and although I’m exhausted at the end of each day, I’m LOVING this age. Yes, toddlers are wild but they are also so much fun! Their little personalities are truly blossoming and they do so many funny things. So today I thought I’d share a ‘day in the life’ and our routine with a 16 month old. This is generally how our days look if Evie is at home and not at daycare.

A day in the life: Routine with a 16 month old

7:00am: Evie usually wakes between 6:45 - 7:30 am each morning. I usually wake up around the same time, not because she’s crying but just out of habit. I’ll switch on the monitor and often see her little eyes open and hear her talking to herself. I get up and get a few things out of the cupboard ready for breakfast and then go in to her. Her little face peering up at me is the cutest! I’ll change her nappy (the whole time she’ll be saying ‘eat’, ‘eat’, letting me know she’s hungry) and then we go straight to make breakfast.

Evie stands in her learning tower at the kitchen bench with some crayons and paper while I prepare breakfast. I try to change things up for her every day. She might have pikelets (pre-made and defrosted from the freezer the night before), bircher muesli, Weetbix or porridge as well as sliced fruit and yoghurt. I don’t usually eat this meal with her as I like to do intermittent fasting but we sit together, and I sip my coffee while we chat.

8:00am: We then usually have about an hour at home while I clean up the highchair, get us dressed and get a few things organised for the day. Evie generally follows me around the house while I get things done and sometimes I can manage but if she’s super clingy, I might have to put on an episode of the Wiggles which distracts her while I race around – it’s a saviour!

9:00 am: Most days we are out of the house by 9 am (unless it’s a daycare day – Mondays and Tuesdays – where we leave at about 8:30 am.) To get her into the pram I bribe her with a snack. I’m quickly realising that toddler life is going to be ALL about negotiations! We then walk to a nearby playground or a cafe for a babycino (but really, it’s all about caffeine for mummy).

11:00 am: Back home, Evie eats lunch at around 11:00 am and we usually share this meal together. We might have toasted sandwiches, fritters or spinach and ricotta rolls.

12:00 pm: Nap time! At around 13 months we dropped down to one nap a day. It’s the best. I know she’s going to sleep for around 1.5 hours and it’s a nice solid stretch to get a few things done. We read a story together and then I pop her into bed and say goodnight. She’s usually asleep in a couple of minutes. I spend the time doing ‘house’ stuff – I unpack the dishwasher, wash dishes, meal prep for dinner and maybe hang some washing out to dry. While I’d love to spend that time on ‘me’ rather than the house, at least I feel organised for the rest of the day.

2:00 pm: I make a snack for Evie when she wakes up. Sometimes it’s a smoothie to boost her dairy intake and keep her full for the afternoon or it might be chopped fruit and cheese or veggie sticks with hummus.

3:00 pm: We head out again in the afternoon as it can be hard to keep her busy at home all afternoon. We might go to the supermarket, the library or perhaps walk to the Abbotsford Convent or Collingwood Children’s Farm, both of which are close by. It’s such a cute age and her language development is really exploding. She labels everything she sees, is using two-word phrases and loves interacting with people we meet along the way.

5:00 pm: We make it home in time for dinner, which Evie eats at around 5-5:30pm. If we have leftovers from the night before, she might eat some of that, otherwise I prepare her something. While it would be nice to eat dinner all together as a family, it’s just too early for Ben and I to eat. We also eat a lot of spicy food which Evie isn’t too keen on! Instead, I make a little plate of whatever she’s having and sit down and eat that with her. She loves seeing us eating the same food and yells ‘same!’ when she sees so.

6:00 pm: Bath time is one of her favourite times of day and we always fill the tub with lots of bubbles. She has a few toys in the bath but honestly gets the most fun from just kicking her legs, splashing around, blowing bubbles and pouring water out of cups. We sing songs, label body parts and practise verbs like ‘splash’, ‘kick’, ‘pour’ and ‘blow’.

6:30 pm: Now the bedtime routine craziness begins! In order to get her to stay still while I dry her and put on her nappy and pyjamas, she needs to be doing something – reading a book, singing a song with me or looking at some kind of interesting object (the thermometer is a favourite). I have to be quick though because she’s up running away before I’ve barely finished!

She runs around the house, suddenly with about 7 million things on her to-do list before bed. In the meantime, I head to the kitchen and warm a bottle of milk for her. This is the only bottle she has now and I think we’ll drop this one in a few weeks too. I try to read her a story before bed but sometimes we need to skip straight to her sleeping bag and milk because she’s decided she wanted to do other things instead. Once the white noise is on and she’s drinking her milk, she’s calm and ready to wind down.

7:00 pm With a cuddle and a kiss, I say, ‘Goodnight, I love you, I’ll see you in the morning’, and close the door. Unless she’s sick, we won’t hear a peep from her until the morning. We’re very lucky, I know!

After she’s in bed, Ben and I eat dinner then watch a show on TV. I mentally plan the next day’s meals in my head and maybe grab a few things out of my freezer stash if needed. Then I head off to have a shower, make tea and then read for half an hour before going to bed at 10 - 10:30pm.

Even though the day has been busy and full, I often feel like there are still a million things on my to-do list that I never ticked off. They might be work tasks (I only have two full days to work on my blog and business while Evie is at daycare and it just feels like it’s not enough), household chores or nurturing relationships (I’m sorry if I haven’t texted you back!). But I feel so mentally spent by the end of the day that I find it very hard to do anything more than rest.

Tomorrow is a new day though!

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Mums with babies or toddlers, do you feel the same? What is your routine like?