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Toddler Life: Stress Free Routines

It’s la rentrée! For most of my mum friends here in Paris this probably means that they’ve spent the last few days running around the shops like headless chickens trying to locate everything on the insanely specific stationery lists given out by schools here. In the U.K you’ve probably sewn on countless name labels to brand new school uniforms and spent far more time in Clarke’s than you ever thought possible. 

However much you love or hate these final tasks, all your hard work its about to be paid off – they’re going back to school! As I’ve previously mentioned, I love this time of year but it really doesn’t change the fact that we’re now in the lead up to winter. The mornings and evenings are darker – the sun sets at around 17h here in the winter – it’s colder, wetter and it’s just generally harder to get out of bed. 

As school and crèche start pretty early in the morning here, strong evening and morning routines have been absolute necessities for us since Arthur started at the crèche when he was around a year old. 


  • 6h: I wake up. Sometimes I do some yoga, sometimes I just make coffee and read for an hour
  • 7h: Arthur wakes up
  • 7h15: Breakfast. In autumn and winter I try to do warm breakfasts as often as possible
  • 7h45: Get dressed & brush teeth
  • 8h: Out the front door!


  • 17h: Crèche pick up and quiet playtime while I cook dinner (10 minute tidy before dinner)
  • 18h: Arthur and I eat dinner together most nights during the week
  • 18h30: Shower time & and I clean down the kitchen, close the curtains & blinds in his room & put some lavender oil on his diffuser
  • 18h45: Pyjamas on and teeth brushed before a bedtime story (only one!)
  • 19h: Bedtime! 
  • After Arthur’s in bed I take half an hour to get organised for the morning. I finish whatever housework is left to do (usually laundry), lay out clothes for both of us for the morning, pack my lunchbox if I need one and lay out whatever else we need. 

All of this seems pretty intense sometimes but when I feel like I just can’t be bothered with the routines I remind myself of how stressful our mornings would be without them! With a new baby joining us soon and a husband who works nights and needs to sleep in the morning I want to make sure that we have the least stress possible in our time together in the mornings and evenings and I also want to make sure that Arthur can do some stuff without help from us. 

I found these great Montessori routine cards here and we’ve been using them to show Arthur where we are in the routines and what comes next. He’s been excited to use them, asking to brush his teeth and trying to get himself dressed. They also come with a load of other stories to tell, like building a tower or baking a cake – so I’m looking forward to using those too!

The only problem with routines is, of course that they become routine! I’ve practically eliminated weekend lie-ins for myself but I think I’ve made a fair trade for calmer school mornings and more me-time in the evenings. What do you do to make those school runs and autumn evenings easier?

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