As a stay at home mom with a toddler, a daily routine or “schedule” is probably one of the most important things for me. I use the word schedule loosely, because our routine isn’t set in stone or constrained to specific times for specific activities. Rather, our routine is how our day typically looks, but sometimes our day things go very differently for various reasons.
I think routines are pretty crucial for stay at home moms, and their babies and toddlers. Routines aren’t just beneficial for toddlers, but also for moms.
Having a daily routine provides the structure that we all desperately need. And for many, myself in included, that structure keeps us in a far better mental state. The structure of a routine also helps us to be more productive, which for me also helps keep me in a good mood.
Of course, while we all need some sort of routine in our day, not everyone’s routine and schedule looks the same. Sometimes it can be helpful to see how someone else’s day goes to get inspired and get new ideas to implement into your own routine.
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A Day In The Life Of A Stay At Home Mom With An Energetic Toddler
It’s been a long time since I shared our daily routine—the last time I shared Elijah was still a baby. As you can imagine, our current routine looks quite a bit different than it did back then!
Before we get into my stay at home mom with a toddler routine, I want to take a minute to remind you that it’s okay if our routine looks different from yours. Everyone’s schedule and obligations are different, not to mention their kids! What works for one person or family may not work for another. And that’s perfectly okay.
If you don’t have a routine already, I’d encourage you to try to get into the habit of one. It can take some to figure out what works best for you and your kid(s), but I think the benefits are worth the effort.
And don’t feel like it has to be perfect—nobody’s routine is. Routines are nearly always in flux as our babies grow into toddlers and their—and our—needs change. Figure out what works for you now, and then make changes and adjustments as needed.
Alright, all that being said, here’s what our typical weekdays look like. Keep in mind that Saturdays and Sundays look a bit different than our weekday routines, and are not included in this post. For reference, my toddler is currently 2 ½ at the time.
Mom & Toddler’s At Home Morning Routine
Wake up between 7-8am
As of right now, our day normally starts anywhere from 7-8 in the morning. I’d love to be able to say that I get up before my toddler and accomplish a ton of stuff before the crack of dawn, but that just wouldn’t be the reality.
The truth is that I’m someone who needs a lot of sleep in order to function well, and I hate getting up in the morning. I know, that probably makes me sound super lazy, but it is what it is. Maybe someday I’ll master getting up bright and early and tackling half my to do list before anyone even wakes up. That day just isn’t right now.
Right now, my toddler is my alarm clock. Except for the extremely rare occasion that he sleeps in really late, he’s almost always the first one up.
Depending on exactly when he gets up, Elijah typically eats breakfast with my hubby before he leaves for work. Lately, I’ve been showering right after while Elijah watches a TV show.
I know, I’m a terrible mom for letting him watch TV first thing the morning (*major sarcasm*). But seriously, I don’t buy into screen time being the evil enemy. Like most other things in life, it has a place and should be used with balance.
For me, it’s a good way to keep Elijah occupied while I get myself together for the day. It allows me get showered and dressed, eat breakfast and drink a hot cup of hot chocolate (I’m not a coffee drinker) in peace. All of which are important things for me to stay in a healthy mental state and set us up for a good day.
While I’m eating breakfast, I frequently squeeze in a little bit of work on the blog. This is usually my time to do small blogging tasks that aren’t time consuming, as well as check emails and messages.
Snack around 10am
Somewhere around 10am I usually let Elijah have his morning snack. Sometimes it ends up being a little earlier or later, depending on wake up time and how our morning is going.
This is usually my time to take a break from blogging and get some housework done while Elijah’s eating his snack. I’ve found I’m typically most productive in the morning. For that reason, I’ve been trying to get most of my to do list done in the morning before I lose my motivation.
After Elijah’s done with his snack, it’s time to play outside! Weather permitting, of course. We live in Texas, and for the better part of the year it’s too hot to be playing outside after noon. So with the exception of winter, we usually try to get some outside play in during the morning hours when it’s cooler.
As we get into the hotter days of the year, our play time will move earlier into our routine, until it’s the first thing we do after breakfast. Basically, once it gets to be midsummer, we flip most of our morning routine in order to get outside in the coolest hours of the day.
What we do outside varies a lot. Right now in the middle of a pandemic, Elijah just plays in the grass in front of our apartment. Some days I take this time to get some reading in, and other days Elijah specifically wants me to do things with him. And some days he just wants me to leave him alone to explore—haha.
When there’s not a pandemic going on, we’ll also have days where we go to the park, go grocery shopping together, and go for walks around our neighborhood.
Lunch at 12pm
Lately our lunch routine has been looking a bit different. Because my hubby works just down the road from our apartment, he almost always come home for lunch. Recently, he’s been taking care of making Elijah lunch and watching him for an hour while I go for a walk or run by myself.
This has been really beneficial for us recently. With all the tension and stress caused by the pandemic, it’s been really good for me to get out of the house by myself for a bit. Not to mention, exercise is a great way to naturally reduce stress and relieve the tension in your body.
Breaking up the day
And, the fact that the best time right now to do this is midday is a huge bonus. Being a mom at home all day with a toddler can be hard in many ways. Getting out for an hour alone gives me a midday break and a chance to regroup. If we’ve been having a bad day, it offers a chance to reset and come back with a fresh perspective.
While this can’t be a permanent thing due to the hot weather in our area, I’m planning to take full advantage of this window of time for as long as I can.
When I get back, Elijah plays or watches an episode or two of a TV show while I eat. Once I’m finished, it’s time for nap!
Nap at 2pm
By 2pm, we’ve taken care of cleaning up lunch, changed Elijah’s diaper, and turned the fan and ac on for nap time. Elijah used to be really good about taking a nap on his own when he slept in a crib. However, ever since he transitioned to a toddler bed and then a twin sized bed, it’s been a chore to get him to stay in bed to nap.
It’s not as big of a problem for bedtime, but nap time is rough. In the last two months or so, I’ve switched back to laying down with him for a nap. I know, I know. Maybe I should struggle through it in hopes of teaching him to stay in his bed without having me sit there to ensure he does it.
The truth is that lying down with him on my bed is just a lot easier right now. If I lie down with him, he’s usually asleep within 15-20 minutes. Whereas if I try to get him to sleep by himself in his own bed it could easily take an hour or more. Right now, it’s just not worth that to me.
Once he’s asleep, I have anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 hours of free time. Often I use this time to work on blogging, but sometimes I use it to relax in other ways. Occasionally I’ll just take a nap too. Bottom line, this is my time to do something that fills me up and recharges me.
Dinner prep around 4pm
As the one at home with our toddler, it usually falls within my mom duties to take care of cooking dinner—most days. Sometimes my hubby does do the cooking for particular meals or occasions. However, most days we like to eat at 5pm, which means I need to cook if we want to eat at that time.
Anyway. Around 4pm is usually when I start working on dinner. During this time, Elijah has a small snack and either plays or watches a little something on TV. Occasionally he’s helped me make dinner when it is something really easy.
Dinner at 5pm
My hubby usually gets home from work anywhere from 4-5 pm. Most nights we plan to eat dinner together at about 5pm.
Sometimes dinner can be a little stressful with a toddler. Elijah has hit a stage of not wanting to eat most of what we have for dinner, unless it’s bread, milk, or pizza. I don’t know that this is a picky stage so much as a stage of trying to assert his independence. Lately we’ve been implementing some suggestions from Kids Eat In Color, and I think it’s been helping.
Clean up at 6pm
Once we’re done with dinner, I take care of cleaning up dishes while Elijah plays with daddy. He likes to rough house as much as possible—typical boy!
On designated nights, my hubby takes care of showering or bathing Elijah during this time as well.
Bedtime at 7pm
Elijah’s bedtime routine starts at about 7pm—or sometimes a little before if we’ve had a rough day. This has actually been pretty much the same time every since he started sleeping through the night as a baby.
He would probably be okay with a later bedtime. But honestly, after staying at home all day with a toddler, mom needs a break. Putting him to bed at 7pm gives both me and my hubby plenty of time to spend together, as well as time to do the things we like to do individually.
What’s your stay at home mom with a toddler routine look like?
What about you? What does your SAHM routine look like? How does it differ? What’s something that you’d like to improve on in your own routine?