Is today one of “those days?” You’ve been running ragged since you rolled out of bed this morning. The kids may or may not have brushed their teeth today. There’s a half-washed load of wet towels slowly turning green in the washing machine. Now it’s 7:00 PM and you haven’t given one thought to dinner. Sound familiar? You, my friend, are in need of a schedule!
Schedules are so important for both kids and mamas. Maybe you’re not a “schedule person.” Well, neither am! I love spontaneity, and my hubby swears that “Forgetful” is my middle name. Yep, I’m one of those people who routinely stare into an open refrigerator trying to remember what I’m looking for.
Nonetheless, I’ve found that having a schedule or routine is essential to finding success as a stay-at-home-mom. Let me share the stay-at-home-mom schedule that works for me. Sure, my day is largely based around the needs of my little guy. Honestly, though, I carve out time for me, too! Take a look at the key elements to help both you and your kids thrive on a schedule.
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Plan to be Flexible
In my experience, the key to scheduling is planning ahead, but also planning to be flexible. For example, if we go to story time at the library, it’s perfectly ok that Little J snacks a little earlier so that his tummy isn’t running on empty (because have you ever tried to get a hungry two-year old to listen to the nice lady read a book?). Or, if he happens to wake up earlier, we can always move his nap up a bit too. Guess, what? Your don’t have to let the weekend ruin a great routine, either! Read how I rock a weekend routine, too.
Related: Just added a new baby to the family? Grab this printable newborn and toddler schedule!
The important part is that your little one knows what they can expect. Toddlers who know what to expect are more confident, less whiny, and definitely more fun to be around! (You could also say the same of mamas. I need a schedule too!) Here’s how we make it work in my house:
(Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. Of course, I only recommend products I know and love!)
Stay at Home Mom Schedule for a Toddler
7:30 Wakey, wakey! Want a great start for the day? Wake up your toddler with your favorite morning song. It really does help set a good mood for the day.
7:45- 8:15 Breakfast. Little J’s favorites: oatmeal with peanut butter (and a few chocolate chips, shhh…), sausage links with pears or other fruit, peanut butter toast and applesauce. (Or try this Vitamin C-packed smoothie I whipped up!)
8:30- 9:00 Quick clean-up with Mommy. Start a load of laundry, finish the breakfast dishes, etc. Morning is my most motivated time of day, so I know if I start laundry now I’ll have less of an excuse to not finish it later 😉
9- 11:00 Do something! Play at the park, go to the library, get outside for a walk, do something that makes you and your toddler feel good and gets you both out of the house. Think gross motor play. Did you know that toddlers need 60-90 minutes of active play per day? (source) This is a great time to get them moving!
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10:30 Snack time! Somewhere in that morning playtime, be sure to offer a snack. Try for a little protein plus a slow carb. Or if your kiddo only wants crackers, go with crackers. There are bigger fish to fry.
11:00 Clean up, take a bath if necessary. Mommy makes lunch while Little J looks at books or plays with blocks. I love toys like this that keep him engaged while I’m busy. If I have laundry to fold, I will fold it really quick.
11:30-12:00 Lunch at last. Menus of choice at our house are quesadillas with beans and spinach, or chicken and green beans, or… whatever is leftover from last night.
12-2:00/3:00 Nap for the kiddo. My little dude will usually nap anywhere from 2-3 hours. Quick tip? Invest in a video monitor. (This is the one we use and it’s worked for two years without any issues.) I can’t tell you the number of times Little J has sat up after an hour and a half, talked to himself for a few minutes, then laid back down to sleep for another hour or so. My video monitor allows me to see if he’s really waking up, or just readjusting. So worth it!
If you’re struggling with naps or need a more in-depth sleep plan, I highly recommend the book “The Happy Sleeper” by Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright. This book is a mama-friendly, child-friendly, science-backed, and practical guide for helping your baby sleep well at night and for naps. A friend of mine recommended it to me, and I’m passing on the favor!
What’s on my to do list during nap time? Just your run of the mill nap time ninja stuff: freelancing jobs, blogging, business tasks, any cleaning that requires chemicals. Or if I’m lucky… I nap!
2:00/3:00-4:00 Inside play, imaginative play, arts and crafts, reading, or tot school stuff. Think fine motor play. I love using “Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready” for weekly activities. This book provides challenging and age-appropriate weekly activities from birth all the way up to age five. The activities are easy to prep and I only have to focus on one new thing per week. I highly recommend this resource!
4:00 Ah, snack time again! Now is a good time to get something colorful on their plate. Broccoli or peppers with ranch dip, apples dipped in peanut butter, or grapes and cheese are favorites around here. Picky eaters? Buy yourself a mini muffin tin and fill it with a variety of items, all of which are mom-approved. He’ll get the freedom of choice within the boundaries you choose. Everybody wins!
4:30- 5:30 Free play for your kiddo: blocks, train, cars, dolls, or anything they love so much that they can play independently. Want my step-by-step gameplan for limiting screen time and encouraging this creative play? Get the Unplug + Unlock eBook here!
5:30 Dinner prep for mommy. Reading or more free play for the little one. I let the little guy watch a bit of TV during this time if he’s super clingy or isn’t feeling well.
6:00 Daddy’s home! Are you ready to rumble? It’s wrestling and rough housing time! Also, my son is always thrilled to play cars with someone who can make a decent engine sound (not me).
6:30- 7:00 Dinner. Little J eats whatever we eat, just cut into bite sized pieces. He loves dipping things, so I try to make something dip-able when possible.
7-8:00 Bath in the tub, play with our favorite foam letters and boats, master class in how to get bath water on mommy, books on the couch with (a slightly damp) mommy, family devotion on mommy and daddy’s bed.
8:00 Two (or more?) books. Lights out. Prayer (try praying Psalm 19!). Kisses, kisses, kisses. “I love you and Daddy loves you and Jesus loves you” Sweet dreams with teddy bear and Mr. Puppy.
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Looking for more resources to help you thrive? Check out my favorite resources for stay at home moms below. Or, go straight to my resources page for my top mama tools.
That’s it! Making a flexible daily toddler schedule is easier than you think, just follow your little one’s cues. Take charge of your day, and be proactive with a schedule that helps both you and your little ones thrive!