Daily Schedules for Stay at Home Moms
As I’ve mentioned in my Myers-Briggs posts, I have a very strong “J”,or judging factor, to my personality. I don’t like surprises but day runners, to-do lists and calendars make me giddier than a kid on Christmas morning. I’m sure it’s no surprise that following a daily schedule makes my world spin as it should.
The trouble with being such a strong “J” and having children is that children have needs that don’t always fit neatly into a schedule. One area of growth I have experienced since becoming a mother is learning how to be flexible. It’s difficult to have a daily schedule when you have babies and toddlers. I understand that very well, so I in this post I will share separate tips for mothers of younger children and mothers of older children.
Before I share my tips for scheduling your day and share my own daily schedule, I want to suggest that you check out the Make Over Your Mornings course. How you spend your mornings will set the tone for the rest of the day. Make Over Your Mornings helps you to get ahead of the chaos so that you don’t wake up feeling like you’re already behind.
Daily Schedule for Younger Children
For moms of children under the age of seven, here are my tips for creating a daily schedule.
- Focus more on having a routine than following a schedule. Children are comforted by routine. A schedule may work for two days until your baby hits a growth spurt and needs to nurse constantly or your toddler gets sick and refuses to sleep.
- Plan your days so that one thing usually follows the other and keep it consistent.
- Keep meal times as consistent as possible for toddlers.
- Have a solid bedtime routine, even if you co-sleep.
- Relax about the housework. Your house isn’t suppose to be perfect when you have small children. Even if it was perfect, it wouldn’t be that way for long. Shoot for one chore per day that is not dishes or laundry. If all you can do in a day is dishes and laundry, then just do dishes and laundry!
- Make weekly (or monthly if you are an ambitious mama!) meal plans! Yes. Do it. Love it. Okay, you don’t have to love it, but do it anyway. I’ve created two free printable meal planners to help with this task and I show you how to make a meal plan, as well.
- If you still struggle to make meal plans, all is not lost. Holistic Squid has done it for you. Check out her real food meal plans!
- If you prefer a meal planner that lets you easily add recipes you find online, check out PlanToEat. I just joined and it’s quickly become my fav meal planner (and it’s only around $4.00 per month after a FREE 30-day trial period!)
- Plan one or two “errand days” per week and limit errands to those days. Leaving the house five out of seven days per week makes you feel like an In-The-Car mom instead of a Stay-At-Home mom!
- Don’t feel compelled to answer the phone just because it rings. Friends and family tend to feel it’s okay to call stay-at-home moms anytime of the day simply because they are home. If I tried to have a phone conversation while my boys were still babies and toddlers, the house would have fallen down around me! Plan a time each day when your partner is home or after the children are asleep to return phone calls.
- Be strict with yourself about media usage. It is easy to spend hours online with only one eye and ear attuned to your little ones. Don’t miss their lives because you are staring a screen.
- Implement a daily quiet time for preschoolers. Toddlers and babies nap during this quiet time.
Here is a sample of what my children’s schedule looked like when they were toddlers. (The preschooler version included some actually preschool from 8-11 a few mornings per week and a little more independent play during the day.)
7:00 am — Wake up, nurse, hang out with mommy
8:00 — Breakfast
8:30 — “Help” clean the kitchen (or played close by)
9:00 — Errands, outside time or following me around “helping” while I cleaned the house.
10:00 — Snack time (Don’t forget to bring a snack if you are out on errands!)
10:30 — Reading or play time with me (unless we were still out on errands)
12:00 pm — Lunch
1:00 — Nap
2:30 — Snack
3:00 — Outside or big muscle movement time inside (run around or dance to music)
4:00 — “Help” to tidy up around the house
4:30 — Play nearby while mommy cooks dinner
5:00 — Dinner
5:30 — Daddy Time!
6:45 — Bedtime routine begins with bath
7:15 — Read in bed, snuggle, nurse, etc
7:30 — Bedtime
Daily Schedules for Older Children
- Assign chores. If you are solely responsible for the housework and you have older children, let them take over.
- Set meal and snack times. If I didn’t have set meal and snack times, my children would eat constantly. I cook all of our meals from scratch, so I have to plan carefully. When I know what time a meal will be, I can plan the preparation time accordingly.
- Wake up at the same time everyday. I allow myself to sleep in occasionally. And I seem to get nothing done except for cooking on those days.
- Go to bed at the same time every night. Consistency works.
- If you never got the hang of menu planning when you had small children, now is the time to get started.
- I would love to advise you not leave the house every day, but I know you’ve got to take this child here and that child there and that a day at home would be nearly impossible. Instead, use the time that you are watching practice or waiting in the car line to return phone calls or emails.
- Don’t lose the daily quiet time! Older children don’t have to nap during this time, but they need to play quietly in their rooms or in their own space.
- Be sure to plan time in your time schedule just for you. I plan a long soak in my giant tub with my favorite essential oils once or twice per week. I read, play games on my iPod or Kindle and even fall asleep sometimes, but it is my time to completely tune out and be responsibility free for about an hour. It recharges me and I believe it is crucial to my health.
Here is a sample of my homeschooled children’s routine from age seven and above.
7:00 am — Wake up, make breakfast (I still made breakfast when my older children were seven, but they could have made it themselves. I just had younger children to make it for anyway, so I did it.)
8:00 — Home school (Either with me or independently, depending on their age.)
10:00 — Snack, run errands, chores, then free time
12:00 pm — Lunch
1:00 — Quiet time
2:00 — Snack
2:30 — Finish any homeschooling or do history as a family (every other day)
3:00 — Free time
4:30 — Help with dinner or tidying the house
5:00 — Dinner
5:30 — Daddy Time or extracurriculars
7:00 — Begin bedtime routine
7:30 — Bed time (with books if they weren’t too tired.)
Resources for Stay at Home Mom Schedules and Routines
Steady Days is a wonderful book about how to manage your days as a stay at home mom. Her advice is solid for creating a flexible, but structure routine that allows you to get things done without sacrificing the precious few years that you have with your children as little ones.
Before I go, I’d like to share one tool with you that helped keep me sane through the years of parenting small children and one that helps me now that my kiddos are older. Motivated Moms has an awesome chore planner that will help you make sure that you remember all of the little things that come along with homemaking. Motivated Moms also has an app available now! Check it out!