Staying home with your children can be one of life’s greatest joys, but setting up a daily routine for a stay at home mom can be quite the opposite. Being a teacher, I was used to having highly structured days and knowing exactly what was happening and when. I thrived on routine. Then a newborn arrived and all daily routine was thrown out the stay at home mom window! However, as months moved on, my little guy got on a solid nap routine, and my big guy was ready for greater structure to return again (and so was I!).
Disclaimer: I’m Not Perfect!
My schedule is really more of a goal for the day. It’s never entirely the reality. Are there days when the schedule goes out the window and the TV is on far more than I’d like? OF COURSE! More often than I’d like to admit! But having this routine helps me get back on track after some of those hectic days (or at least makes me think I’m on track, which is all I really need to calm that mom anxiety). Bottom Line? Children are unpredictable, but having a goal schedule helps create safety and SOME predictability in their (and my!) day. The following schedule is for a typical day to be spent at home. Play dates, unavoidable errands, or fun events can change up the routine, but having a routine is what helps those atypical days be a breeze.
The Details on My Family
This schedule was made for my final few months home as a Stay at Home Mom after a glorious year and a half home with my babies. My toddler, Lincoln, is newly 3 and my infant, Calvin, is 11 months old. My husband, Spencer, works about an hour away so with his commute, he has long days (leaves the house by 8AM and is usually home around 6:15PM). After tweaking my routine for a stay at home mom over all this time, this is what currently worked best for our family.
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Daily Routine For a Stay At Home Mom
Below is my schedule for a day with both boys at home and no errands or events happening. I did include where I normally run errands on the schedule to adapt for those atypical days. Now let’s get started!
6:00AM: Work Out
Unfortunately (I am NOT a morning person), the only time that a workout fits in my day is first thing in the morning. For me, I either lace up my sneaks for an outdoor run, but more than likely, I’m downstairs in my basement on the elliptical or following the Peloton app. No matter how exhausted I feel at the start of the day, I never regret a workout once it’s done.
6:30AM: Baby Wakes Up
Right around the end of my workout, my little guy usually wakes up. We do basic hygiene (teeth, diaper, wipe face), and feed him before it’s time to wake up his big brother.
7:00AM: Toddler Wake Up
I never let my toddler sleep much past 7AM. I’ve found the later he sleeps in, the more likely his naps are thrown off. And Mama needs that nap time just as much as my boys do! Lincoln goes through his basic hygiene routine (brush teeth, go potty, wash hands) and heads out to the Living Room to play. The night before, I try to remember to leave out a toy to play with. It’s usually something we haven’t played with in a while or from a box of rotating toys. This creates greater engagement with the toy (and less likelihood of asking for a video to be put on!). Don’t get me wrong though- there are plenty of tired mornings when I’ve chosen Ryder and the Paw Patrol pups to help us start our day so Mommy can have a hot cup of coffee. No one is perfect!
We usually eat together around 7:30- especially now that Cal is eating solids. Everyone sits together while Daddy gets his things ready for work. It’s a joyful way to start the day as a family before my husband heads to work. Typical rotation of breakfasts in this house are yogurt, waffles, or cereal and always some fruit on the side. After we eat, the boys go back for some more play time.
8:00AM: Toddler Gets Dressed
Around 8, I bring the boys into my toddler’s room to get him dressed. Since he has a huge rug with open space in his bedroom, it’s a perfect place for the boys to roll around and play together between getting dressed. (I leave Cal in his PJs for his first nap and dress him after that).
8:15AM: Morning Chores
After Linc gets dressed, we put Calvin in the jumper and get to work on Morning Chores. I just started this a few months ago, and my son LOVES it! Our chores vary from wiping down the storm door and windows, dust busting the floor, emptying and reloading the dishwasher, feeding the dog, washing/drying the clothes and/or folding and putting away the laundry. I try to choose things he can be fairly independent with. On days he isn’t as eager to help, I give him a job he really loves (this dustbuster has been his current favorite!).
8:45AM: Indoor Play
In true teacher fashion, I like to reward desired behavior with a preferred activity. Therefore, after we complete our Morning Chores, we have brother play time together. Currently, the boys LIVE to wrestle. Linc rolls and drops down and Cal roars with laughter. Meanwhile, my mommy heart melts. *SIGH*
9:15AM: Baby’s Morning Nap
Around 9:15, I head up for Calvin’s morning nap. After lots of trial and error, I have come to discover, the ONLY thing that keeps Lincoln from consistently barging into naptime is screentime. I cringe as I type that, but it’s our reality. This is why I work so hard to try to keep our mornings bustling and busy, because I know there will be nap screen time. I pop a video on for Linc and head up to put Cal down. Usually I can squeeze a superfast shower in before going back down to see Linc. Hey, if one video allows baby to sleep and Mommy to bathe, I’m not going to fight it!
9:45AM: Activity Time
We use baby’s nap as our toddler activity time. Since I truly believe play is life’s greatest teacher to a child, I know all the play we do is critical. However, the teacher in me also cannot help but want to explicitly incorporate some skill work in our day. Activity time has included scissors skills (my ULTIMATE favorite training preschool scissors), crafts, coloring, cut and paste work, numeral recognition, counting, letter recognition, drawing, letter sound work, rhyming etc. Most recently, we have been LOVING these Number Sorts by Kinderbrations.
10:15AM Snack and a Story
No daily routine for a stay at home mom is complete without SNACK. I love Snack and a Story. It gives us time to read without the pressure of making sure we finish in time for nap or bedtime. Linc and I sit together with his snack and read. Recently we’ve been very into the classic fables and fairy tales. Especially these: The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
10:30AM Outside Play
We like to take advantage of not having to divide Mommy’s attention to do some of the more daredevil outdoor activities: riding a bike, scooter, climbing the rock wall etc. Anytime we’re rained out of outside play, we head to the play room in the basement for some fun. Here’s some of the fun we had indoors on snowy days this past winter. However, my boys would spend the entire day outside so as soon as we’re able to, we head out there!
11:15AM Baby Wake Up and Toddler Table Time
Around 11:15, Cal usually wakes up. We go to get him together and Lincoln loves to bring over the ottoman to stand up and be eye level with him at the changing table. While I feed Cal after nap, Linc is usually doing some sort of table top activity. These include fine motor practice, lacing beads, stickers, coloring, or playdough. These Melissa and Doug reusable stickers are a go to hit for Linc.
11:30AM Outside Time
Once Cal is dressed and fed, we head back outside! We like to do things together. The boys will swing beside each other on the playset, go together for a wagon ride, push each other in the car, or enjoy bubbles! If we do have an errand to run or are looking to get out of the house, now is usually the time of day we begin to do that instead of outside play. Sometimes we take our outdoor play to a playdate or playground. This usually pushes back lunch time, but we’re all learning to be more flexible, so it’s a good learning experience.
We all sit down for lunch roughly around 12:15. Lincoln insists on helping to make whatever he’s having that day (our faves in the rotation are PB&J, Quesadillas, and Grilled Cheese), and Calvin will eat ANYTHING so I just make a little extra for him. During the Pandemic, we always FaceTimed my father during lunch, and since it’s become our daily tradition.
12:45PM Wind Down Time
We spend the time between lunch and nap winding down to relax. Most of the time, Lincoln chooses a video to lay and watch, but occasionally he will opt to color or read. Calvin gets some time to crawl and play on his own during this time.
1:15PM Toddler Naptime
This was traditionally the most stressful part of my daily routine as a stay at home mom. I just wanted to make sure everyone got their much needed rest and hated having to leave sweet Cal on his own while I put Linc down. Now, after some working through different options, we’ve got a good thing going. Calvin sits in the Pack and Play with a desired, safe toy while I take Lincoln by himself to nap. Our toddler naptime routine is potty, reading, singing, and tuck in. *knock on wood* Things have become a well oiled machine in the naptime department.
2:00PM Baby Afternoon Nap
Roughly around 2PM, Cal is ready to nap. I take him up for a diaper change and some rocking and singing before putting him down, going downstairs and taking a long deep breath that BOTH boys are asleep! During nap, depending on my energy level that day, I do some housework, finish up some laundry, prep meals, or simply relax!
3:15PM Baby Free Play
When Calvin wakes up, after a diaper change and feeding, I like to give him free access to crawl and climb. It’s hard to get that done during the day when big brother has his things all over the place. This is one of my favorite parts of the day. I love that special one-on-one time with my little man.
4:00PM Wake and Snack
I always wake up Lincoln between 4 and 4:30PM. I have found this to be the sweet spot that allows him to get enough sleep while still keeping him able to fall asleep at night. While Lincoln is eating and Calvin is smiling ear to ear, I try to give a quick prep to the evening’s dinner.
4:30PM More Outside Play
If we don’t have any errands to run, we head back outside. I often like to do water play at this point in the day. We blow up the inflatable pool, fill up the water table, or even sometimes just spray the hose! Who doesn’t love water play on a hot afternoon?
Are you even setting up a daily routine for a stay at home mom if you’re not counting down the hours til your partner gets home? My husband doesn’t come home til close to 6:15 each evening. Therefore, I try to push dinner back so that Daddy may come home and still be able to eat with us.
6:15PM Family Time
We like to close out our days with some family time. Sometimes that means going for a family walk. Sometimes we head out for ice cream. Other times we go back on the playset for some Daddy Swings (he pushes way higher than I do! He’s the one requested for pushes on the swing on the regular!). It’s so important to me that my kids build memories of our whole family together.
7:00PM Bath and Bedtime Routine
Our bedtime routine starts at 7PM. The boys take a bath together then get in their jammies. We all snuggle up to read Calvin a bedtime story. Then Lincoln heads down for a final video for wind down time as Calvin is put down in bed. After his wind down time, it’s the same dog and pony show as nap: potty, reading, singing, and tuck in. Big kisses goodnight!
8:30PM Free Time
The critical component of a daily schedule for a stay at home mom: FREE TIME! Free time in our house rotates between me time (which for me is wine and reality tv!), productivity (blogging, planning for the school year, prepping meals etc.), or Date Night In with my Mister (did someone say Netflix and chill?). I aim to be in bed by 10PM. Then wake and repeat!
How does this compare to your daily routine? What similarities do we have? What tips can you offer me? I love chatting with fellow moms- we need a mom tribe! So please leave a comment below and let’s build our mom community.
Keep your head in the clouds!