Designing a childcare daily schedule for infants

Creating the ideal childcare schedule for infants can be a challenge when you have multiple children with different needs, wants and levels of development all under 18 months of age! Balancing learning and playtime, with mealtime, naptime, and of course, diaper changing time can make it hard to really pin down a set schedule for your classroom.

While your infant childcare schedule will vary depending on the number of infants in your care and their unique needs, keep in mind the following when designing your daily routine!

Consult with caregivers

While trying to individualize your schedule for infants is not always possible, seeking input from parents is key to making children comfortable while they are in your care. During the enrollment process, be sure to gather necessary information about each infant’s nap and feeding schedule. On a day-to-day basis during morning drop-off or through a daily report, exchange information with parents about their child, including their previous night’s sleep, diaper rashes, if they are fussy, or if they have achieved a new milestone!

teacher and child crawling

Age-appropriate activities

The goal of activities in your infant schedule should be to assist in moving the child forward toward the next developmental stage. Design activities around music, art, free exploration time, interpersonal interaction, and outdoor time. Be sure to match each activity to the range of ages in your classroom and the skill levels of each infant. Check out some suggestions here! 

child hand with toy

Nap time!

You may need to block out time for one, two, or more naps per day within your infant schedule. Each infant naps according to their own schedule and what they are used to at home. Your scheduling will have to be flexible enough to make room for naps of differing durations and frequencies that vary from infant to infant. If possible, having a separate, blocked-off space of cribs within your infant classroom is very helpful so that some children can be sleeping while others are learning and exploring!

Diaper routines

Typically, childcare centers change diapers every two hours, meaning you’ll have to schedule at least 3-4 diaper changing times within your schedule for infants. Should a parent request more frequent diaper changes or if a child has specific needs, you may need to accommodate additional changes throughout the day!

Meal time

Infants will have varying lists of what they may or may not eat, depending on their age. You’ll juggle bottles, baby foods, and solid foods as you feed a wide range of children under 24 months of age. This is an area where you’ll definitely want to speak with parents before you set a menu or feeding schedule in stone. Similar to most other aspects of caring for an infant, the frequency of feedings and types of foods each child eats are completely unique.

Happy child eating

Your goal in creating a childcare schedule should be to successfully incorporate each child’s needs, parents’ requests, and the educational and developmental activities to support infant growth. Need more help designing your daily routine for infants? Browse HiMama’s childcare schedule templates to plan your activities, meals, nap times, and more!

How do you design a sustainable but engaging infant schedule? Join the conversation at @HiMamaSocial and make sure to sign up for updates from our HiMama Blog for updates on similar content in the future!

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