The Importance of Routine

Why breaking the routine isn’t so bad

Today was a different day. A day where we a little out of sorts, or as some might say a little out of kilter. We were away from home, in a new place and tired from a long drive the night before. We had plans arranged for the day that didn’t fit quite around our daughter’s nap time and bed time which slightly worried me. Why? Because I knew that we would be breaking our routine.

This panicked me. I feel stressed when I know that our routine will be broken. This is because I know how things could and will be. Not to sound negative here but I know what could happen.

I’m the one who wants the routine, and I’m worried that by breaking it things might go slightly awry. Will my daughter turn into a crazed monster or will I go a little mad that I’ve not had the hour break I deserve when she hasn’t had her lunch time nap.

There is nothing wrong with deviating away from the routine in terms of timings, in fact it’s really useful to have a little flexibility, but I believe it’s important to have consistency throughout your day especially with a baby or toddler, and that the same day-to-day component blocks happen in the right order. For example; wake up, breakfast, play, lunch, nap, play, dinner, bath, book, bed. Babies and toddlers thrive on routine, they need it so that they know what’s coming next.

We started to build our routine way back in the days of the 4 month sleep regression when I knew that we needed it. Without it, we were in some sort of sleep deprived hell with a baby who had no idea what they were doing. I’m not saying that babies know what they are doing when they are born. They need to be programmed and we did just that.

I guess that my fear of breaking the routine comes from the time it took to get us into our current routine. The time it took for my daughter to master napping in her cot. And the time it took for her to settle herself to sleep, and then to sleep through. Recently we’ve had what I believe was or is the 2 year sleep regression, so routine right now is a really important thing for me.

However breaking our routine today wasn’t all that bad. We missed the one to two hour lunch time nap, instead that was 20 minutes in the car, and our daughter went to bed about an hour later than usual. Having said that she settled well and had a brilliant day with the family.

So what I’m saying is routine is so important, but so is the ability to have flexibility to fit around plans. I guess it’s just me who needs to loosen up a bit and stop being a control freak. It’s easier said than done.

Do you have a strict routine with your baby or child? What happens when something breaks that routine, how do you cope with it?

Claire x


  • Catherine Stribling

    I can totally relate to this. I don’t mind going off daytime routines once in a while but am always keen to try and keep bedtime the same each day or as close as we can. I have started to realise that it is sometimes good to be a bit more relaxed about things but most of the time i like to keep things as they are.
    I find it more when we are away from home and being in a different place but like you i am learning to be a bit more relaxed about things once in a while.

  • From Day Dot

    I have a nearly 9 month old and stress every single day because I know he doesn’t have enough of a routine. I think we’re also struggling with the 8 month regression and him waking at crazy hours in the morning which straight away throws any routine I do have off balance – 5am start means he’s tired and back in bed after his bottle but before his porridge, which is not the ‘normal’ routine! I don’t want to spend the rest of my mat leave in the house or planning around a nap which might never happen and it’s something I’m massively stressing over which is very unlike me!! Did you go through anything similar?! X

    • The Pramshed

      Oh it’s super tough and I remember those days well, but I was quite strict and ended up staying in to try and do naps. It was the only way that I could do it, I know it’s not what you wanted to hear. But I had to master the daytime nap to conquer bed time settling. I found that a lot of my NCT friends babies were in a similar routine which helped. It’s really hard but short term pain brings long term gains. Stick with it and try not to stress too much about it. I found being consistent really helped. Good luck lovely and don’t forget this time will pass x x

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