From the time that Scarlett turned 6 months old, I finally had a breakthrough and was able to put her on a sleep/eat schedule. Life is so much easier when you know when your child is hungry or tired and there's no guessing.
Now that Scarlett is two years old, she's been on the same schedule for some time now. She wakes up anywhere from 7:15-7:45 AM and has breakfast and milk immediately. Lunch is 11 AM and then a nap follows at 12 PM. The block I have scheduled for nap time is 12-3 PM. She used to sleep for 3 hours solidly, but now may sleep only 2 or 2 1/2 hours. She's tired at nap time and goes down usually instantly. When she wakes up we have a snack and then dinner is at 5 PM sharp. Scarlett takes a bath every day and I do bath time right after dinner. When we're done with the bath, she has wind-down time and we play or read books. She has a cup of milk around 7 PM and then we brush teeth and she goes to bed at 7:30 PM. She sleeps in her own crib.
I've read horror stories about parents having their children go to bed at midnight and then wake up whenever they want. My husband and I enjoy having some time to ourselves at night and I wouldn't be able to function if I couldn't decompress. You can't be the best parent for your child if you don't have time for yourself.
Scarlett knows exactly what to expect with her daily routine and I think the structure that it provides her makes her a happy child.