9 hours a day, 5 days a week
Alright, it is time to get into the nitty-gritty and for me to share what I do to keep my toddler entertained all day.
For those of you dads who face over nine hours with your child, it takes some getting used to. It also takes some creativity and patience.
If you are going to be taking care of your toddler as a full-time job, fellas you are going to have to come up with a routine for you and your baby. It helps you both get through the day.
Here are the details of what I do on a typical day with my daughter and she loves it. I broke my day down into eight different parts to make it easy to understand.
We are currently in a great groove in terms of what we do together, so dads, future dads and all the men out there, get ready to be amazed at how the little things you do for your child are what matters the most.
#1 Mommy and baby time before work – 6 am
If your wife still breastfeeds, one thing you can do to make the morning go more smoothly
Since my daughter was an infant and my wife started working she has always done a feeding around 6 a.m., we did it out of necessity because my daughter NEVER drank from a bottle you can read about our story soon (my wife will be posting it shortly).
But since she never took a bottle, my wife made sure she would not be hungry as soon as she woke up by nursing her early. It also allowed my daughter to sleep a bit extra in the morning. Having your child sleep a little later does two things:
- When they finally do wake up they are in a great mood (if my daughter wakes up too early she is a grump most of the day)
- You get to do a few things around the house and for yourself, I am here actually writing this post for you guys because my wife made that extra, oh so sweet effort to nurse our baby before work
Our daughter is a great sleeper and can sometimes sleep until nine or 10 in the morning, and then she is ready to start her day. I do not know if this would be the case if she did not have that early morning mama breakfast special.
If your wife is not breastfeeding, maybe you can try giving your baby an early morning bottle? It is worth a try to get your morning off right.
#2 Use soothing sounds for a restful night’s sleep and great morning – 8 am
Ever since my baby was born, my wife and I have used a free sleep app called Rain Rain. It has all sorts of soothing sounds on it. Our baby knows that when she hears the rain and thunder, it is time for her to relax and fall asleep.
This app is great and can stay on as long as you need it – for us that can be up to 12 hours at a time.
While we use it all night, I make sure the app is running before my wife heads out to work. We Bluetooth the app onto a speaker where she sleeps so it is nice and loud. I use the app as well to drain out other loud sounds that can possibly wake her up.
We have loud dogs that enjoy barking while our baby is sleeping or on the verge of falling asleep. It can be rough, sometimes they bark so loud and startle our daughter, she just flat
In the morning and night, this app works like a charm and she sleeps until she is ready to wake up.
It’s another thing I do to keep our baby sleeping comfortably through the morning. It is a great tool
#3 Play some Foo Fighters to get the day started right – 9 am
Every morning my daughter will wake up between nine and 10 in the morning. As soon as she wakes up, I shut off the Rain Rain app and put on a song for her to enjoy as she wakes up.
Typically, I play Run by the Foo Fighters because it starts off slow and the lyrics begin with “wake up.” When she was in the belly, I also played that song for my wife every morning too when she woke up, at the time the song had just been released.
Since I have the Bluetooth speaker set up on my phone I put the song on and I watch her from the monitor as the music plays. Sure enough, when the song starts, she sits up and begins to dance to the music. As soon as the song gets loud, I open the door to the bedroom and begin to sing and dance with her.
We have a blast, singing and dancing to the entire song.
It is one of my favorite things to do with her and she enjoys the heck out of it. She
#4 Quick playtime – 9:30 am
After my baby is all excited from her wake up song, I take her to the living room and we play together for a good ten minutes.
I do this so she gets to stretch and move a little. Which also allows her to soil her diaper.
I learned that if your baby wakes up and you immediately take her to the changing table you’ll not only have a harder time to change her (because she will be stretching her little body the whole time) but you will also have to change the diaper ten minutes later.
She always goes again.
So I stopped immediately changing her diaper and let her empty her bladder.
After playing for a bit, no longer than 10 minutes, we head back to the room to change that full diaper.
I like to pick up my daughter and pretend she is an airplane about to land, with the landing strip being the changing table.
You can come up with your own ideas to head to the changing table. Be creative your child will love it! The older your child gets, the less they like the evil changing table, so make it fun.
While you are changing your child’s diaper try to keep her mind occupied by singing with her or teaching her to count or reciting the alphabet. Since you are their focus when they are on the changing table it is a great mini learning opportunity for them.
My daughter learned to count to 10 and her alphabet just by us reciting them while we changed her diaper. It is amazing!
Small activities can make changing a diaper fun for your baby and for you as well.
#5 Breakfast time – 10 am
My baby and I then head to the kitchen for her breakfast. I sit her down in her highchair while I pick up the kitchen – if I did not get around to cleaning during my free time earlier.
I usually feed her cereal with milk and some sort of fruit. I also look online for toddler recipe ideas. The other day I found a great french toast recipe and she loved it. She smiled after every bite.
She also likes pancakes and loves bananas. I do occasionally give her shredded cheese because she loves cheese! I do not do that too often, but on the days when she refuses to eat, I will offer her a bit of cheese just to get something in her mouth and to get her eating.
I also use this time to get snacks and her sippy cup of water ready in case we go out later on during the day. If I know we will be out for a long time, I will get a little lunch prepped for her as well.
#6 Get dressed and ready – 11 am
After we eat, it is time to brush our teeth and get dressed and ready for the day. We dress her according to the weather and pack up her diaper bag.
Now that she is a bit older here is what I pack whenever we go out:
- Changing pad
- Hand sanitizer
- Extra shirt, pants, socks, shoes
- Light sweater
- Snacks and water (and a picnic lunch)
- Seasonal items as needed – sunglasses, mosquito repellant, jackets, mittens, umbrella etc.
Of course, while getting her ready we have our music playing. It is always one of the best tools to get your toddler excited and ready to head out if you plan to leave the house. You always want to keep it entertaining for them – it just makes everything easier.
Bottom line, I dance, sing, and play music ALL DAY! I would be lying if I said I did not love it because I do. I love everything I do that makes her smile.
Luckily, our daughter loves all music, including my favorite rock music. She loves acoustic Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and Stone Sour the most. But she does enjoy harder music such as Hate Breed, Trivium and Dark Tranquility.
Of course, she does enjoy toddler music too. But I do not mind, that music teaches her all sorts of stuff, like animal noises and colors.
#7 Going out to play – 12:30 pm
Once we are ready, we take off in our car – you guessed it, music is playing and we are singing and having fun. As you can tell by now, I pretty much use music for everything.
My daughter and I usually go to visit family, or to the park on our outings. If you have dogs you can take your kids and dogs to the park and hang out there for hours. Find a park with a dog park in it. That way you can let your dog and toddler run around and play together. The dog parks are usually empty during the day, so it is just your dogs and your child.
If it is a really nice day, we will eat our lunch
If needed, we go to the store, but we try to do things that will not cost us any money. Once she gets older, I plan to take her to the library more. Right now she enjoys books, but when I take her to the library she just wants to run around.
During the summer, we went swimming almost daily, she was around nine months and loved it. We are lucky enough to have family that has a large nice swimming pool. Try to find a nice place in your area where you can safely swim with your child. Oh, and do not forget the sunblock!
#8 Naps and bath time – 3:30 pm
Now that my baby is older, by this part of the day, she is ready for a nap. Especially if she just played at the park. I put on the storm and put down for a nice short nap.
I have learned that if I let her nap too long, she will not sleep at night. When she was about 15 months and younger she took naps earlier, she recently started taking a nap in the late afternoon. If your toddler is still pretty young he or she may need two naps during the day.
After she wakes up from her nap, it is bath time. I usually do this right before my wife gets home so she is nice and clean for mama. Plus that is the time of the day when she starts getting fussy and really missing her mom, so the bath distracts her in the final stretch of the day.
I have all sorts of bath toys, she really likes the squirt toys. She also likes
During bath time, your child gets to play, gets cleaned and you can teach her at the same time. Make sure to get some quality bubble bath they love when the bubbles last long!
Of course, I always have music playing in the shower. I have a Bluetooth shower speaker that works great! It is attached to the shower head and is rechargeable; so you do not have to worry about having cords around the bathroom.
As I am drying her off, my wife usually gets home. Then I can punch out for the day! Okay, not really, but at least I have a backup!
I hope all you new dads, future dads and even current dads out there will read this and realize that it is totally doable to care for your toddler for 9+ hours a day.
I had no idea what to do or what to expect when my wife and I decided I would be a stay at home dad. Hopefully, the way I break down our routine in eight parts will get you through the day and your toddler will love you for it.
As always, modify for what works for you. If your child wakes up early, find some sort of activity to do in the early morning. Or if your child needs a nap earlier the day, plan a nice transition into that nap.
Regardless of how you structure your day, just make sure to organize it in some way, shape or form. Right now, my toddler is such a handful, keeping her safe and happy is my main concern. So if
On holiday weekends, when my wife has a Monday off our routine veers off
The most important advice I can give you is to be flexible, there will be plenty of days where absolutely nothing goes right.
Well fellas, I really hope this post helps you feel confident in your parenting abilities. Handling a toddler all day can be rough and intimidating – but as you can see it is totally doable. It can also be fun.
If you have any questions or comments let me know. We have our comments open below and you can find my wife and