stay-at-home-mom-preschool-schedule

How to Create a Stay at Home Mom Schedule and Stay Organized

August 7, 2020

A Stay At Home Mom Routine to Keep You Organized

As we get closer to the school year, I always feel like I should be doing more structured activities and have my kids on a better schedule, whether they are in preschool or not. And with many kids not having the option to do in-person preschool this year, having a daily schedule can be extra helpful for organizing your day and being more productive.

After over three years at home with my kids, we have finally gotten into a good routine. If you’re struggling to get up in the morning or keep your toddlers active during the day, here are some ideas and tips for creating a daily stay at home mom schedule with toddlers and infants.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using one of my links.


Tips to Stay Productive and Save Time as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Before we get to a schedule, let’s talk about a few ways to create extra time and efficiencies in your day.

1. Wake Up Early (If You Can)

I struggle with this so much, but waking up before your kids can be a huge help in starting your day off right.

I don’t know about you, but when I wake up and have only 10 minutes to get ready, I immediately feel stressed and a little crazy.

If your kids wake up super early or you’re struggling to get them sleep through the night, read my baby sleep fundamentals article here.

Here’s the thing about this tip – you don’t have to wake up at 4:30am and get your entire to-do list done before your kids are even making a peep. Even just giving yourself 15 minutes to shower in peace is a better way to start the day.

If you really struggle with waking up early and hitting the snooze button, try this trick:

Set your alarm ten minutes earlier than normal for a week, and then continue to bump it up by 10 minutes every subsequent week (or every few days). This way you can gradually up your wakeup time while making it less of a shock on your body.

2. List Out Your To-Dos the Night Before

I love using a planner, but if you’re not a pen and paper kind of gal, there are absolutely other great options – like simple to-do list apps – that can really make a difference.

Apps-wise, Microsoft’s “To Do” app is my favorite, because you can create categories and several lists, viewable all in one screen.

If you like physically writing things down, the Day Designer planner is my current favorite, because it allows you to highlight your top three to-do’s for the day. I also find that writing out my to-dos makes me remember them better than if they’re hidden in an app that I may or not may not open that day.

Either way, try writing out any major to-dos for the next day at least the night before, so that you know what to expect.

I also try to write out any appointments or other known to-do items on Sunday as a way to mentally prep for the week.

3. Do a Load of Laundry Every Day

This is a new purposeful to-do for me. Before, it was a chaotic must-do item that I would sometimes remember or do in a hurry because one or both children needed their sheets washed.

If you can start the day with a load of laundry, it will make it much easier to manage.

I do still like to wait until there’s a decent critical mass in the laundry so that we’re not wasting electricity and water, but if you have a newborn or multiple kids, that’s usually not an issue!

4. Make Dinner Early

If you are lucky enough to have kids who still nap, using some of that naptime to prep dinner can be a huge timesaver. If I don’t cook before they wake up from their naps, I find that I need to turn on some sort of TV program to keep my kids occupied.

This isn’t my favorite thing to do, but there are plenty of fun, educational shows out there, like Super Simple Songs (YouTube), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (Disney+), Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (PBSKids), and Sesame Street (HBO).

Another great option is to invest in a CrockPot or Instant Pot. Find your favorite recipes, dump the ingredients in, and start your meals in the morning!

5. Pack Lunches/Snacks the Night Before

If your kids are in preschool, prepping their lunches or snakcs the night before is a great timesaver.

We use and love these insulated bags from Skiphop. You can easily put these in the fridge the night before, pre-packed with whatever snacks they need for school.

6. Encourage Independent Play from Day One

Teaching your kids to become accustomed to independent play is huge for your productivity (and sanity) during the day.

Some babies are just clingy, and this may sound like an impossible idea. My daughter is one of them. However, from the beginning, I made sure to leave her alone in her play area during the day for at least a few minutes, everyday.

Letting your baby know that it’s ok and normal to play on their own for a little bit, is really key when you’re at stay at home mom.

She may not last more than 20 minutes or so, but that independent play time allowes me to get something done, whether it’s a quick chore or something just for me personally.

7. Do as Much the Night Before As You Can

Prepping the night before for the next day is a mom hack if I’ve ever known one!

Do whatever you can at night, while you’re not rushed and the kids are already asleep. We do things like pouring out milk for the morning, preparing snacks, prepping their water cups, and more.

If it’s a school night, I also definitely check to make sure they have their school uniforms washed and ready.

Lastly, get your own personal prep done as well! I hate ironing, so I’ve stopped ironing my clothes unless absolutely necessary, but doing that the night before when the kids are in bed is both safer and a timesaver.

If you are ok with showering the night before, do that as well. I also like to lay out my clothes ahead of time, since I can never figure out what to wear.

All of these small tasks add up to a decent amount of time that you can save in the mornings.


A Sample Daily At Home Schedule

stay-at-home-mom-organization-chart

I wanted to share our current daily schedule to give you one option of what your day can look like. Since I still have one toddler at home, not much changes during the school year except for an earlier breakfast so that we can get to school on time, and a later lunch after preschool pickup.

This is the basic schedule. If you want to read a few extra tips and detail on what the day is like, there’s more below!

6:30am – Wake up, quick workout

7:00am – Shower and get dressed for the day

7:30am – Get kids out of bed and with a morning snack

8:00am – Breakfast

9:00am – Outside play, activity indoors, free play, and/or errands

11:00am – Snack

12:00/12:30pm – Lunch

1:30-4:30pm – Nap Time; Personal time for mom

4:30pm – Kids up and with a snack, finish preparing dinner, screen time if needed

6:00/6:30pm – Dinner

7:00pm – Bathtime and bedtime routine

8:00pm – Kids in bed

8:30pm – Last minute chores and prep for the next day

11:30pm – Bedtime

Details and Tips for the Stay-at-Home Mom Day

6:30am – Wake Up

If you can wake up this early, do it! Or earlier if possible.

These days, I’m pushing it closer to 7am, because we’re not rushing to preschool drop off, and I’m usually more productive at night, which means a later bedtime.

If you can wake up early before your kids though, do it. Not having to rush in the morning is a much better, less hectic way to start your day off.

I will also sneak in a 20 minute workout most mornings. I’m currently doing Bikini Body Mommy’s free program. More updates to come on that one!


Related Reading: All About the BBG Workout: What Is It, And Does It Work?


7:00am – Shower/Get Dressed

I make a point to shower every single morning. Even when I had a newborn and toddler, or even just a newborn, I would make time to shower. This was really important for me to feel refreshed and energized for the day.

If you’re struggling to find time to shower because your baby is waking early or you just feel like you don’t have time, read up on these tips to help your baby nap. And if you can, get a stand alone, soothing, safe space to leave your baby.

Even if they cry, you can shower for 5 minutes and know they’re ok.

7:30am – Wake Kids/Snack/TV show

My kids are almost always awake before 7:30, but from day one we really tried to stick to a schedule and let them know that we will come in to get them in the morning.

Having a Hatch sound machine has really helped as my son has gotten older. The Hatch is a combo sound machine and “OK to wake” clock that you can set to change it’s light/colors and sound at certain times of day.

For example, we have ours set to turn green and starts playing bird noises at 7:30, so that my son knows that we’ll be in to get him in a few minutes, and it’s ok to wake up.

Another morning hack — we always have a morning snack ready for the kids to have so I can stall on breakfast for a little bit if needed.

It’s usually something like raisins, cheerios, or another cereal or fruit. We throw them in a snack cup, have a sippy cup of milk ready, and that keeps them happy until breakfast is ready.

8:00am – Breakfast

Keep it simple! We personally have a rotation of some combination of cinnamon raisin toast, yogurt, waffles, scrambled eggs, black beans, bacon.

Mom Tip: Instead of buying those expensive yogurt pouches (which we do love to use for school or on-the-go snacks), you can save a good amount of money by just buying a large container of plain yogurt and frozen berries to mix in.

9:00/9:30am – Activity or Outdoor Time

After wrangling the kids to get teeth brushed and get dressed, we try to do some sort of activity, whether it’s a walk outside, going to the playground, going for a swim, doing some sort of craft or activity like our KiwiCo boxes, or just playing with their toys inside.

No matter what the activity is, I try to make this time – usually 30 minutes to an hour – time that we actually spend together.

If we have errands to run, I’ll do those during this period as well, and push back lunchtime if necessary.

10:30/11:00 – Snack

We’ll take a break from whatever we’re doing to have a snack. And at this point, if we’re out and about, I’ll start the process of trying to head home, with a snack as enticement!

With two toddlers, it takes about 15 minutes for us to properly leave wherever we are, so I’ve learned to give myself extra time.

12:00 – Lunch

Ok, so here’s a secret. One thing I don’t really do is make lunch for my kids.

We eat dinner leftovers almost everyday, and it’s such a relief, because it’s one last meal I have to worry about, and it takes so little time to heat things up in the microwave.

1:30-4:30pm – Naptime & Personal Time

I am holding onto naps for dear life, and I’m sure many of you are too! And for the day when my kids decide they no longer want to nap, they will definitely be doing quiet time in their rooms, with a book or whatever toys they would like in bed or in their room.

So by 1:30, both of my kids are in bed. This quiet time is pretty necessary for my sanity, so I try to stick to that schedule.

Three hours may seem like a really long time – and my kids definitely do not sleep the full three hours, but as long as they aren’t crying or upset, I won’t go in to get them until 4 or 4:30.

Since I do most of my work on my laptop and it’s almost impossible to have that out when my kids around, this is the time when I get most of my work done. But this is also a great time to do some simple tidying up of the kitchen, start a load of laundry, and start some dinner prep.

With my husband working from home these days, he is able to help out with a lot of these little chores so that I can mainly use this time for myself, which has been so wonderful. If yours is wondering what they can do to help, take advantage of the offer!

4:30pm – Snack and Playtime, Finish Dinner

On days where I’ve done dinner prep, I will sit down and spend some more time playing with the kids.

If I haven’t finished dinner, they will sit at their play table with a snack, milk, and a TV show or Super Simple Songs playing in the background to keep them happy.

Mom Tip: We always have their milk and snacks prepped and ready to go before even getting the kids out of their rooms. This usually means we get to skip any post-nap grumpiness and whining, since food generally makes them happy (definitely my children). This also gives you some extra time to triage any surprises, like if you’ve run out of fruit or milk.

6:30 – Dinner

6pm used to be my goal for dinner, but these days, I pat myself on the back for 6:30.

A great way to keep it easy to cook at home, is a home food delivery service, like Home Chef.

We’ve tried almost all of the home cooking/food delivery programs out there in the last few months, because going to the grocery store right now with two toddlers just isn’t feasible, and sometimes I don’t plan enough ahead grocery-wise. So if that sounds like you, consider giving one of these a try!

I would recommend either Home Chef or Hello Fresh. Both have great meal options, good quality food, and reasonable prices. We like Hello Fresh’s menu variety a little bit more, so we’re currently using them, but I really loved the one pan meals Home Chef offers. So easy.

7:00pm – Bath & Bedtime Routine

Team up with your partner during this time if you can, and have one of you do bath, and the other clean up the kitchen.

Mom Tip: Having a bedtime routine can help your baby get to sleep a little easier. Start it early in their life and keep it simple (we do bath, brush teeth, read a book, and then lights out). The routine lets your child know what to expect, and to know that at the end of it, it will be time to turn the lights out and go to bed.

8:00pm – Bedtime

We try to stick to 8pm at the latest for bedtime. Just like with naptime, if they take awhile to fall asleep, no big deal. As long as no one is crying, we let them sing and talk for as long as they need to.

8:30pm – Work, Relax Time

Ok, so this is the time to do any leftover housework and tidying up before bed. Also, any of the night before prep, like packing snacks and lunches, or throwing in that last load of laundry.

After that, this would ideally just be time with my husband where we can catch up on TV or watch a movie. These days it’s more work time, but I try to take one night a week where the laptop goes away.

11:30pm – Bedtime

Get thee to bed! I think this bedtime is too late, so don’t be me, but it’s the reality. Ideally it would be more like 10 or 10:30pm.


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10 Comments

  • Nicole Kauffman August 25, 2020 at 9:03 am

    I love this post! Definitely need to be working on these things. How early is too early to teach independent play?

    • Lisa August 25, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      Thanks Nicole – I hope it’s helpful! I don’t think you can ever start independent play too early. I count doing tummy time as an infant as the beginning of independent play. And as they got older, I would leave my babies in a playpen/enclosed area to play safely for a goal of 10-20 minutes at a time.

  • Sarah Althouse August 25, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    If I can, I like to clean the kitchen the night before so I wake up to a clean home!

    • Lisa August 25, 2020 at 8:37 pm

      Absolutely agree! I can’t go to sleep with a dirty kitchen – that’s one of the biggest “drive me crazy” things on my list.

  • Lisa August 26, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    I agree with all of your tips. Getting up early and making a to-do list the night before are so important for our family.

    • Lisa August 27, 2020 at 8:29 pm

      So glad you agree!

  • Mariah French August 27, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    I totally need this right now. I like to wake up before my son does, but he will wake up anytime between 6:45-7:45 and come out of his room on his own. I definitely need to be better at letting him know when it’s okay to come out and when it isn’t.

    • Lisa August 27, 2020 at 8:28 pm

      Oh that is tough! Have you tried one of the “ok to wake” clocks? We have a Hatch — my son is still in a crib, so I’m not entirely sure how it’ll go once he can roam freely, but I’m hoping it helps keep him in his room once the time comes.

  • Gina Abernathy August 27, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    I am all about packing snacks and lunches the night before. Also, doing a load of laundry every day is a must. Your schedule looks like a winner. 🙂

    • Lisa August 27, 2020 at 8:27 pm

      Thanks, Gina! The load of laundry is newer for me and it reeeeally helps.

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    Meet Lisa

    Welcome! I’m Lisa – a mom of two, figuring out this mom thing and sharing what I learn along the way. I love affordable, easy fashion, finding new ways to organize, and sharing all things motherhood. I’m so glad you’re here!

    xo Lisa

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