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So far, during my years of staying at home, one of my biggest challenges is keeping a daily schedule. Despite the challenge, I have no doubt it makes the biggest difference for me as a stay at home mom. So, this article is speaking just as much to me as it may be to you!
Why Have A Routine?
Even though we are staying home, us mamas have so much work to do within the walls of our homes. We’ve got little people to take care of. That is the most important part of our job.
And we’re trying to do more than just keep them alive. We want to nurture and teach them. We want to give them experiences and lessons to learn.
All of that happens best when us mamas have a routine that plans for those things intentionally. Those priorities we have with our children can easily slip away if we don’t create the space and opportunity for them.
Stay at home moms are also the ones keeping the house running. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, bills and all that goes into home management….we do it all. But doing it all can end up being a real challenge if we aren’t able to stay on schedule.
For me, this usually results in a mountain of laundry that needs to be washed or the same size pile of clean clothing that needs to get put away. I an easily miss bills if I don’t stay organized and schedule time to deal with them.
And all of these things effect my family. They may not have clean clothes in their drawers. Or, a missed bill can be a really big deal! So, staying on top of household management effectively is a big reason a schedule is helpful.
Another reason a daily schedule is useful for stay at home moms is that it allows us to accomplish more throughout our days. This one is big for me. I usually have quite a list of things I want to get done: keeping up with daily chores, household management tasks mentioned above, homeschooling, blogging and having meaningful time with my four kids.
All of those things can really take up more hours than I have in a day. Or one area can get all my attention while the others are neglected. With a schedule, each area can get its needed attention so that nothing is missed.
This doesn’t mean I get to all of those things in their entirety every day. It means I have a plan of how to get each of them done well throughout the week by scheduling it all out into manageable daily pieces. Additionally, when I know I have a set amount of time to accomplish something, I tend to get it done more quickly.
How To Create A Schedule
Begin with routines
Certain elements of our day can operate as routine. This is great for our kids, who naturally crave routine and order. They like knowing there is predictability in their day as it gives them a sense of safety as well as decreases the challenges they face when transitioning between activities.
If the TV is turned off everyday after a 30 minute show in the afternoon, you’ll have far less resistance than if you turn if off after 15 minutes one day, 30 another and 60 minutes the next day. Makes sense, right?
As you decide what these routines will be, make sure to put sleep at the top of the list. Build into your schedule a great sleep schedule for every member of your family, including you! Some sleep routines that might be helpful to consider could include
- Kids in bed by 7pm, older kids can read for 30 minutes in bed
- 7-10pm is mom and dad time, then to bed for adults
- 6am alarm for you so you can enjoy a cup of coffee, a workout, reading, a shower alone, etc. before kids are up
- No one comes out of their room until 7am
- Naps happen at the same time everyday
- During nap time, older kids have a quiet hour for drawing, reading, etc.
- Quiet hour is mom’s time to recharge, read, nap, etc.
Everything is so much harder when we are tired. Make sleep a priority as you set up your schedule.
Helpful sleep articles you may enjoy:
Daily task routines
Other routines you can plan into your schedule are the daily tasks that need to happen around the house on the regular. These might include:
- unloading the dishwasher every morning
- all kiddos making their bed and tidying their room right after breakfast
- run one load of laundry every morning
- every able child grabs their mini laundry bin and puts their clean clothes into their drawers while mom makes lunch
- everyone helps do a quick household tidy up after dinner
As you can see, these daily tasks can be used to help make up a daily schedule that both you and your children use throughout the day. They can be planned into your schedule with intention. This allows your kids to help be part of making the home run smoothly, which takes the full burden off you. Getting their help is great! They can also really enjoy being part of things.
Throughout our day at home, we have several events (for lack of a better word) that take place. Examples of events within our day include getting ready for the day, running an errand, meals and bedtime.
For each event, a routine likely encompasses it, or could encompass it, to help it run smoothly and predictably. This helps our schedule work in our favor and enables us to stay on track more easily.
Some routines for daily events might include:
- when getting ready to leave the house, all kiddos get their jacket and shoes on, then wait by the door so you know they are ready to go
- everyday after nap time, snack is served
- after snack a short TV show is an option
- each day, one child is responsible for setting the table while another is responsible to sweep after a meal
- every child who is able clears their own plate after a meal
Essentially, these are like mini events that happen throughout your day that you want to see happen in a consistent way. Routines that surround these events will ensure each event happens fully, well and at the right time of day. It will take some of the guess work out of your day, which I just know makes it less stressful for a mama.
Don’t Overdo It
If you are anything like me, you see creating a schedule as an opportunity to list every single thing you think you could possibly get done in a day. And then expect to get it done. With kiddos at your feet. Ain’t gonna happen, mama. I’ve been there and done that. And it’s not that fun. I think it’s also why I have struggled with a creating realistic daily schedules in the past. I always overdo it.
Instead of facing this disappointment daily and eventually giving up, let’s start with only the necessities. Then we can fill the rest of the space in after we have decided what the absolutes and must haves are.
My absolutes are these:
- 7-8am- breakfast and everyone ready for the day
- 8:30-11:30am homeschool
- 12:30-3pm-naps and quiet time
- 12:30-1:30pm afternoon homeschool
- 2-4pm blog work
- 4pm-dinner prep
- 7pm-kids to bed
When I start with my necessities, I can see that I have some time here and there to squeeze in daily cleaning, homeschool prep and blogging. It’s not a ton of time but it gives me a realistic view of what I have to work with. With that in mind, I won’t kill myself by packing hours and hours worth of tasks into my day that aren’t available.
Plan In Some Downtime
As someone who likes to be busy, I know it’s easy to just keep the tasks rolling without taking into consideration what some healthy downtime would look like. But, we all operate better when we plan some time to allow ourselves to recharge.
This could take place during a morning hour you have to yourself. Then again during a time of independent play for your kids. Or maybe nap time is a good guarantee of an hour or so to spend in a way you like. However it works out, find the time to take care of yourself, too.
This works for our kids, too. Particularly if we have several children and a couple in the bunch enjoy some solo time. And even if your kids love to play together every moment of the day, there are certainly some great benefits to gifting them the opportunity to sit and do something quietly as an individual.
Kids Don’t Rule The Schedule
This one can be a little tricky. But, the idea here is that the one who needs to be the happiest with the daily schedule is you, mama. Your schedule needs to be one that serves you well. This means it can’t revolve around making your children happy. They will be happy when they have a mama who is less stressed because the day is going somewhat smoothly.
Also, our kids are so amazing in their ability to jump on board with things. Especially when it comes to younger kids, when you invite them to be part of something and you are excited about it, they will so often come along with you willingly. Do they love some of the cleaning routines? Maybe not. But if you crank up the music and everyones does their cleaning chore while they dance, will they still get a kick out of it? Yes!
Also, take the time to talk about team work. My four kids are pretty young (ages 2-8 at the time of writing this) but the older three all fully understand the idea of team work. We regularly talk about how we are a family team and we need everyone on our team to work together. I very honestly tell them that I can’t get through a day well without their help. I actually need them.
If we are going to get bedtime without mama losing her ever loving mind while accomplishing our daily tasks, I’m gonna need them to step up. And they do. They love me just as much as I love them. They want to help me. Building this virtue of team work and of being part of our team in them is so important to me. It is a great by-product of them being part of your daily schedule.
My Fav Products That Help With My Daily Schedule
As my dad has told me over the years, a job is much easier with the right tools. How true this is! And I love things that help me stay organized with my daily schedule. I’m listing just a couple here that I use on a daily basis to help me be more likely to stay on my daily schedule.
Click on the images in this section to view the item on Amazon. You’ll be so much more organized in just two days if you Prime it up!
As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you choose to purchase an item listed below.
Meal plan magnet
I keep a meal planning magnet like this one on my fridge. I reminds me to plan out my weekly meals and I usually stand in front of it and do my weekly online grocery order! This is a small tool that keeps me on track in a big way with my daily schedule!
I actually keep a small whiteboard on the side of my fridge. This is where I can make a daily to do list or write myself helpful reminders. I have a lot of requests thrown my way from all my family members. There is no way I can remember it all. So, I have to have a very convenient place to write down daily reminders.
For planning things out in a more detailed way, I use a daily schedule planner. This is particularly helpful with the homeschooling side of things. I also have really enjoyed The Happy Planner in particular because they are very customizable. I was able to get a pack of inserts that hep me make larger to-do lists or reminders that I want to have around for awhile, as apposed to the quick, daily lists I put on my white board.
These are just a few items but they really are what my help me stay organized with my daily schedule. I’m not someone who just comes up with a plan in my head and can easily stick to it. I need visual reminders and a written plan in front of me if I want to accomplish something. So, these are the basics of my tool kit to stay on track with my daily schedule!
Alright, mama! Hopefully you’ve gotten some good tips here for coming up with a daily schedule that suites you and your family. I know it makes a big difference for me when I stick to a schedule so I hope this helps you out!
And if you are a schedule mastering mama…please, tell us how you make the magic happen in the comments below! We’d love to know!