20 tips for finding your routine with kids

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

two girls wearing pink dresses and crocs
Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

Reader Marilyn asks, “I am struggling to set some kind of schedule for my family. I’m new to the SAHM thing (I went back to work after my son was 5 months) and have a 5-month-old and a 3-year-old who is now at home with me.  I’ve been kind of going with the flow, but that is losing its effectiveness, and I have to take a bit more of a proactive approach. I’d love any tips on balancing the bedtimes, eating, naps and various activities of two different-aged kids.”

I had a five-month-old and a three-year-old at this time a year ago, but no matter the ages, I think it’s always a struggle to juggle multiple kids throughout the day.

The key is to just plan something.  As the COO of your home, it makes complete sense to have a work schedule to your day.  Just as zero-based budgets require a name to every dollar coming and going, I think the best routines put a name to every hour (even if that name is “nothing time”).  Kids thrive on a routine as well – t’s comforting for them to know what’s next in their day, even those things they don’t like.

Now, I’m not talking about planning every single minute of your day, nor am I talking about the weekends.  We all know that moms work 24 hours a day, but I suggest allocating tasks to total a roughly 40-hour work week.  This will help you direct your energy appropriately throughout the day.

Here’s what my days have (more or less) looked like the past few weeks:

6:00 – wake up, work out, read my Bible, and pray
7:00 - write
8:00 - breakfast with the family, chores with the kids, and get ready for the day
10:00 - preschool time with my daughter (I’m teaching her how to read) while the baby naps
11:00 - play time, chores, and/or reply to emails
12:00 - lunch and clean up
1:00 - outside or art time
2:00 - quiet time, nap time, and mom time – I work on the finances, our home, my writing, or I help with my husband’s job
4:00 - kids are up, and we read books together
4:30-6:00 - kids play while I do more cleaning, cooking dinner, and replying to emails
6:00 - dinner time
7:00 - everyone helps clean up from dinner, and then kids get baths and/or play
8:00 - story time and bed for the kids
8:30 - my husband and I finish tidying up the home, then we either spend time together, or we work independently (but next to each other)
10:30 - bed

There’s nothing magical about this schedule – it just works for me right now.  It’ll probably change in a month, as my routine often does with a baby in the house.  But simply having some sort of written-out plan helps me know what’s next, how to stay focused, and not feel like I’m running in a hamster wheel.

Here are a few observations from my routine:

color-coded calendar and pen
Photo by Erich Ferdinand

1.  Write a set-in-stone schedule, but keep it soft as clay. The planner in me likes creating a weekly schedule of my work, and if you were to see my color-coded spreadsheet, you would think I was a schedule nazi.  Not so.  I write it with specific times in mind, but rarely does it work exactly.  I say we do story time at 4:00.  Many times it’s at 4:30, or sometimes at 3:00, or even at 5:30, while dinner’s in the oven.  Dinner is really the only thing to which we try to stick a hard-and-fast time.  Everything else is subject to change.

2.  Re-visit it weekly. Just because your schedule worked well last week, it doesn’t mean it will this week.  You may have a play date when you’d normally pay the bills, or your son has a dentist appointment right during your younger one’s nap time.  There’s no rule that there has to be a “master schedule” – just make a new one each week.

3.  Sit down with your spouse for 30 minutes on the weekend to discuss the upcoming week. It helps me so much when my husband and I touch base with each other about our upcoming work weeks.  I ask him if there’s anything I can do for him, and he’ll find out if I need anything from him.

4.  Do what you can to have your little ones help you. Marilyn, you specifically asked me about handling little ones.  Most preschoolers think chores are great fun, so have your older one help.  He or she can put away silverware, fold towels, pick up toys, and even wash dishes (just put a bit of watery soap in the sink with some safe dishes and a sponge).

5.  Teach them the value of waiting. Along with the suggestion above – it’s okay for kids to learn that Mom has a job, and she can’t play all the time.  The world doesn’t revolve around them, and this is a good truth to learn as early as possible.

6.  Clean as you go. Completely clean from each mealtime before moving on to the next task.  Loosely straighten up a room before heading to another.  Set a timer for three minutes, and have a fun pick-up blitz with your child.  It may sound stressful to clean so often during your day, but I’ve found it to be much less stressful than tackling the entire house at one set time of day.  It’s usually much more chaotic if I wait, and it feels overwhelming before I begin.

7.  Find your three MITs. Out of a ten-item to-do list, identify your three Most Important Tasks, and focus your energy on those.  Don’t try to get your to-do list completely scratched off, because it’ll very rarely happen – accept the fact that in this stage of life with littles at home, the to-do list doesn’t end.  But you can probably accomplish three things each day.  Pick the three things that, if finished, would make you feel like you had a productive day. Work on those when your energy is at your highest, and if you accomplish anything else – well, those are just gravy.

mind map
Photo by Jason Rogers

8.  Write things down. Have a brain dump at least once during the day – transfer everything swimming around in your head on to paper.  I usually do this during or right after breakfast, and I immediately feel so much better.  Don’t bother trying to do this neatly – just jot it all down as it comes to you, and then you can organize your ideas.

9.  Be happy with partial solutions. Meredith wrote about “good enough” on Friday, and I’m certainly learning this in my own life at the moment.  I call these things partial solutions – it’s not exactly how you’d have things if life were perfect, but it’ll work for now.  So you wanted to scrub the bathroom, but you only got around to tidying it up.  Or you planned to roast a chicken for dinner, but you didn’t get a chance to thaw it, so now it’s taco night.  That’s okay.  Don’t aim for perfection.

10.  Identify daily chores, weekly chores, monthly chores. You probably have a general rhythm of doing repeated things each day, week, and month, and you might not notice it.  Jot down those things you find necessary to do each day, and when you create your week’s routine, make sure you’ve allocated daily time for those tasks.  Make a master list of weekly chores, and fill in your week’s routine with them – check them off as you go.  And make sure you put those sporatic-yet-important jobs you do only monthly (paying bills or menu planning, for example) on the calendar.

11.  Create a calendar-type system. Speaking of – find a good system for maintaining your schedule, whether it’s using a manual Home Management Notebook or a digital calendar like Google Calendar (I happen to use both).  There’s no right or wrong way to do this.  It just needs to fit your lifestyle.

12.  Don’t try to do everything. I’ve read some rumors on the internet that I can do everything.  This is allegedly based on this blog, but I can promise you that it isn’t true.  I suppose there are a few things that I can do pretty well, but the flip side to that coin are things I freely admit to not doing well.  No one can do everything. There are probably lots of things you’re good at, and with other things you’re… not so good.  Welcome to membership in the human race.  We still need to do certain essential tasks, even if we don’t feel up to par, but play up your strengths, and don’t sweat over your weaknesses.

13.  Don’t watch much TV. I’m still amazed at how much more I got done once I stopped watching most TV.  Cut back to only those few shows you really love.  You won’t miss the rest.

little girl reading
Photo by Greg Lawler

14.  Make naps and quiet times essential. Don’t blow these off – little kids need lots of sleep, slightly older kids need to learn the value of alone time, and mama needs a break to do grown-up work.

15.  Have everyone eat, sleep, and play at the same time. This isn’t always seamless, depending on your kids’ ages, but you can tweak ideal situations a little to have everyone down at the same time, eating at the same time, and playing together as often as possible.  If your baby needs his nap at 1:00, and your daughter really needs some rest time at 2:00, have nap and quiet time start at 1:30.

16.  Accept the messes. Okay, I’m telling myself this as much as you, because it really is hard to accept the fact that most kids don’t care about the messes as much as you’d like.  They need to learn the value of work, and we home managers need to model that hard work by keeping our home neat.  But that doesn’t mean our homes are never messy.  I have a friend who has this quote hung on her fridge – “Cleaning house while kids are growing is like shoveling snow while it’s still snowing.” It’s true.

17.  Know your energy levels. Are you a morning, afternoon, or evening person?  When do you hit your slump?  I’m a morning person, so I make every effort to rise before my kids and get my much-needed quiet time in then.  I hit a wall at around 3 p.m., so I know I’ll be spinning my wheels trying to get anything significant done then.  In the morning, I focus on tasks that require full brain engagement.  In the afternoon, I fold laundry and wrestle with the kids on the floor.  Make the most of your energy.

18.  Think of your job as a job. Don’t apologize for keeping a thorough work routine.  Don’t feel guilty for turning down a friend for coffee because you have work to do.  Just as you’d have those limits with a paycheck-earning job, so you need to create boundaries with your job at home.  It’s a jobMake it a priority, and do what you can to excel in your vocation.

resting at a picnic table
Photo by Zara

19.  Have intentional down time. Right along with that, schedule in down time, and make it really good down time.  Don’t answer phone calls while you’re taking a walk with your family.  Only check your email during certain times of the day, and certainly don’t use down time for your inbox.  Treat relaxation as a vital part of your schedule, just as you would cleaning or cooking.

20.  Get enough sleep, water, and exercise. Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself.  How silly that we all often forget to take care of ourselves while we take care of others under our roof.  Get rest.  Stay hydrated.  Make your health a priority.

You’ve all learned your own tips and tricks for getting things done around the home with little ones underfoot.  What else can you add to the list?

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Comments

  1. What a great list! I agree with having a calendar system for the chores – we do that and it works great. But it definitely has to be revisited every week. We also do our “big” chores on the weekend and we do them early in the morning before we go anywhere or do anything fun or they just don’t get done. Once they’re done, it makes it so much easier to just pick up after ourselves throughout the week. Great post!

    The Modern Mom´s last blog post…Coupon Holder

  2. I absolutely agree with working with your energy levels – I’m a morning person and there are certain jobs that just will not get done unless I do them in the morning. Also, getting my older son to help with chores works really well for me – because he loves having real jobs to do (just like the ones mum and dad have. It is actually harder for me to try and do chore without him helping because he nags so much.
    The other thing that I have just started and that seems to be working is planning some specific activities for him to do each day – some with me and some which he can do independently.

    Catherine´s last blog post…5 Minutes for Mom’s Ultimate Blog Party

  3. Great Tips.. esp #20 which I find it so hard to follow. Sometimes we get so caught up with work that we forgo getting enough sleep and exercise which we truely need.

    Dominique´s last blog post…Ultimate Blog Party 2009- Are you In?

  4. wow, i’m going to have to come back to this one again and again. 20 things to do….and all seem essential. my husband and i did steal some time to talk through the week together this weekend and the week already seems off to a better start.

    thank you for the encouragement and the example. today, i’m offering a template of my own to do list that’s more like a ‘to be list.’ this has been helping me in setting my schedules as well. you can find it here: http://burningbushes.org/

    Nicole´s last blog post…Download the To Be List Template for Free

  5. What great timing for this article. Today is my husband’s first day back to the office and my first day on my own again at home with our 2 year old and 2 week old! I love the concept of a name to every hour. I will be referring back to this post frequently during the week.

    Jenn´s last blog post…Update: Crafting – Knitting

  6. So excited about this post! This is awesome!

    And AMEN on cutting out TV.

  7. I find a lot of the same things to be effective. I have my daughter and 2 nieces at my home all week so I find that a schedule is crucial to the flow of our day. Great post Tsh. Good luck Marilyn!

    Nicki at Domestic Cents´s last blog post…Budget-Friendly Spring Crafts And Activities

  8. excellent tips. i’ve found many of them to be very helpful for our kids, and some i’m looking forward to utilizing. i can’t stress enough how structure is so helpful to kids…even our 11 y.o. strives and does so much better when he has a consistent schedule (he even does worse in school when there’s too much holiday time and not consistent school time).

    prasti´s last blog post…little pets

  9. This is a great posting! I agree with you. Cleaning day is very overwhelming, so it works for me to spread it out over the week. One of the ladies actually blogged about something similar on http://www.momliving.com about a month ago.

    MomLiving´s last blog post…Turn Old Jars into Storage

  10. These are wonderful tips…but most important I appreciate how you stress do what works for you right now– it will certainly shift as your kids grow and what works for you will ikely be different from someone else. I’ve written about my philosophy on structure vs sponteneity– we need both to keep the day flowing smooth, I think.
    Thanks for the great way you have detailed so many points out.

    Lisa @ WellGrounded Life´s last blog post…Let the Negativity In!

  11. avatar
    AdinaLex says:

    I was a stay-at-home mom for 6 years, it will be ending shortly for me as my children are in school all day and I will be going back to work. What kept me sane was having a place to go OUTSIDE THE HOUSE every day – If I didn’t leave the house, we would all get crazy.
    Get a family membership to a local Children’s museum, Science museum, or Zoo, some place where your kids like to spend time. It can be a place you visit every other week, and when you have a membership, you can easily go for just an hour, it doesn’t need to be a 5 hour visit, just to get your money’s worth. On those rainy or snowy days, it helps to have a bright active place to visit. Also check out the weekly story times at the library and book stores, those become great activities to schedule in every week. And I can tell you, no matter what we did that day, my kids got crazy every day between 4 and 6pm, and that became special video time so I could have peace and quiet and cook dinner. (They didn’t watch TV for 2 hours, just 30 minutes between 4 and 6.) So don’t beat yourself up if you turn it on because need a small break for yourself too.

  12. Wow, it’s hard to think of anything else to add to such a great list. These are all things I try to apply to my life and mind daily too.

    One thing I really believe in is getting good physical exercise first thing in the morning. If I miss a day of working out, I can tell I don’t have as much energy and tend to not get as much accomplished that day.

    Exercise helps get my body going and my mind opened for the day.

    Amanda´s last blog post…The Tale of Peter Rabbit

  13. Ditto. Wonderful. Well said.
    I know what I want to get done, what errands to run, and what fun activities to do…and I pretty much use Meal Times and Nap Time as my “markers”, because those times are cast in stone. However, my almost 3-year old is starting to give up her nap, so I’m having to adjust the schedule.

    Kirwin´s last blog post…Edit, add, appreciate

  14. The tagline on my blog is “the journey toward intentional, professional motherhood.” So I really agree that it’s important to view our work as mothers just as we would any other job. Thanks for the great reminder.

    Once I grasped that concept in my own life, I found life and all the roles I juggle much more fulfilling.

    Jamie

    steadymom.com´s last blog post…springtime art

  15. When I first became stay at home mom a year ago, my schedule looked so much like this – it still does! I tried to keep in mind how much we all like the predictability that comes with a schedule – and it helps the little bodies and minds adjust and look forward to their days. Little ones love to help and it is also key to watch our energy levels as well.
    There are SOO many teaching moments here – and I try to make the most of it – my little ones love to help with laundry, dishes and such. And yes, they are finally letting me so “mommy’s work” for about 10 mins at a time :)
    Great article!

    Maya´s last blog post…Looking for a Book Designer!!

  16. This post came with perfect timing, I am also transitioning to life as a stay at home mom and will be bookmarking this page to come back to AGAIN and AGAIN.

    Thanks Tsh, you always seem to know what I’m looking for

    Stace

    Stacy of KSW´s last blog post…The Pleasure in Today

  17. Wow! What a helpful list! I’m leaving tonight for a family vacation and am going to use the flight time to do some planning for our next month! Thanks!

    Emily´s last blog post…Put Another Notch In My Lipstick Case

  18. Absolutely and completely what I needed to read today. Thank you, thank you! I have been a SAHM for over 4 years now, but with a recent move and job loss for the husband, our life has flipped upside down. Definitely going to get back to our good ole routine days.

    Thanks again!

    Angie @ The Creative Mama´s last blog post…the heart of a child.

  19. I loved your post! You’re so right about the t.v. thing–it’s amazing how much you can get done without getting distracted. I love having a schedule, but I’m learning that it’s okay to be flexible with it. I know that God has to be in control of my day, so when He allows something to happen that is not “planned”, it’s okay, because it’s part of His plan for me.

  20. What a terrific article!!! I am going to have to print this out to help me set up a better routine! Thank you for all of the wonderful, sound advise!!

    Relishing Life´s last blog post…Ultimate Blog Party 2009

  21. Great stuff, as always. I think you covered it all. :)

    Heidi @ Mt Hope´s last blog post…Sisters

  22. I love lists and planners. My new favorite (it changes every few weeks) can be found here : http://tangarangblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/thursday-free-download.html
    Our other new favorite idea is to have a general area assigned to a child for a week, switching out at the beginning of each week. I’ve got four boys, age 11,6,5,4 so it looks like this: Laundry mover (keeping laundry going up until folding) is the 11 year old. Kitchen boy is the littles, they are in charge of clearing the table, and putting up the clean dishes. Dish washer is the 6 year old, I will assist and teach until he’s got it down. I am the laundry folder. Those are the four categories that get switched each week. So far (just two weeks into this idea) it’s working pretty well. Each child is learning a new job and having time to perfect it!

    Paige´s last blog post…Busch Gardens, AGAIN!

  23. Wow, Tsh. You really, really made my day with your post. Thank you so very much for turning the attention of your blog to my question. I just knew you’d have some great suggestions! Thank you again!

    • You’re welcome! It worked out really well, because I’d been working on the post for a bit, so I just polished it up and finally published it. :)

  24. Great post! Routine is a constant struggle b/c every day has different scheduled activities … spinning classes, Bible study, etc. So, I try to schedule all of my outings and activities in the mornings so that we are almost always at home in the afternoons. Therefore, I keep a very loose schedule in the mornings when we’re home and a more definite one after lunch.

  25. I agree and I love the “mind map” photo!

    ~Kim

    Kim @ Forever Wherever´s last blog post…Toile Party Giveaway – Making a No Sew Pillow in Less Than 10 Minutes!

  26. Great article! I was just talking to some SAHM-friends about this, so after reading your article, I wrote down my schedule. Big week for me…first ever menu plan Monday and daily schedule written down. http://shewhoislaughingorcrying.blogspot.com/2009/03/making-most-of-my-day-as-sahm.html

    tutti´s last blog post…making the most of my day as a SAHM

  27. What a great list! I really like your perspective on this :)

    Wendy aka CalvaryGirl´s last blog post…Hope Deferred

  28. I definitely have my son’s meals and naptime scheduled, but I really like how to schedule the rest of your day. great tips!

    courtney from mommie blogs´s last blog post…the latest on double l

  29. About TV, I try really hard to only turn it on if I have a specific show I’m going to watch. No channel surfing. Since I only watch three or four fave shows a week, I don’t usually watch extraneous TV.

    Also, I try to schedule multiple outings for my daughter in a week. She is always happier when we’re out, so I do that as often as possible. We’ll go to the park or mall play area (both free!) and just let her enjoy herself. It’s best in the morning, before all the older kids are out of school.

    Lindsey´s last blog post…Silly Bekah

  30. I am in the process of reorganizing our home. Your site is helping so much. I have a three year old ,a one year old, and baby #3 on the way in late fall. We are going to homeschool, so any ideas I can find to manage my home in the best and most efficient way is always welcome. I really loved reading your hints and encouragement. It is so true that we all need to do our best to stay “on task” but understand that “life happens” (ear infections, teething, sickness, and somedays a little cabin fever. :) ) Thanks for helping all of us have a wonderful adventure with our little ones and keeping a managed home at the same time.

    Kristy Franklin´s last blog post…Sweet new pictures

  31. This is such a good post and I really loved seeing your schedule. I find that when I keep a routine, my children and I are so much more relaxed and I get much more accomplished (not only getting things done, but the important down time things as well.)

    I’d love to know when you do your errands? Weekends? Evenings? That is my biggest struggle in keeping my routine–the out of the house interruptions.

    molly´s last blog post…family stories

  32. I LOVE YOU!!!
    Thank you for sharing your gift with the world, because there are loads of us who need someone like you to inspire us to keep doing what does not come naturally.
    PLEASE keep it up

    Freedom´s last blog post…Meeting Nonita Zoily

  33. Speaking as a working mom with two young, school-aged kids (11 and 7), I cannot agree enough about a schedule (I call it a routine…simply because schedules change; routines never do).

    My kids have really done well with our laundry routine. They both have it memorized. I also have a procedure (posted) in the kitchen for my son to follow when it’s his night to do dishes.

    I really does help our children when they know what Mom expects – all children. Young children thrive on routine and schedule. Older children like to know what’s going on :)

    Iva @ Horizontal Yo-Yo´s last blog post…The Other Side of Me

  34. my husband and i have a “family meeting” every sunday night. on the agenda for the family meeting:
    1. our to-do list for the week
    2. upcoming week plans – anything special or of note on the calendar
    3. budget- we go over the whole thing on mint.com, including a discussion of any upcoming purchases
    4. strengths and weaknesses for each other
    5. prayer requests and prayer
    I highly recommend using reminders on your computer, the ical, and some kind of online budgeting tool in order to make these most effective. put the agenda on your ical and it the list of what to do will pop up each sunday with your reminder.
    this little routine has made me love my husband more. ‘nuf said.

    tacy´s last blog post…Good to Be a Jane

  35. Thank you thank you thank you! I love reading your blog. I’ve been a subscriber for a while, but rarely, if ever comment (just because I am “on of those” and I don’t always feel I have something to add), but thanks a ton for this post! I have an 8 month old, and an almost 28 month old (sounds funny, but just so you can see how close my kids are…I could just say 2 1/2, but he isn’t quite). Time management is difficult, and things don’t always get done, but if one or two things get done, and I am able to make them laugh, it’s been a good day. Thank you for these wonderful suggestions.

    Sarah´s last blog post…Silas’ Turn

  36. My only daughter is not quite 2 years old, and we’re only just getting the hang of teaching her to pick up after herself, but I agree that a specific but flexible routine is a must. I think she was about 9 months old when it became clear that flying by the seat of our pants wasn’t working for us anymore. I haven’t written down any kind of daily schedule, but we post a weekly schedule so we don’t lose track of each other’s activities (my husband and I are both self-employed) or anything going on at our daughter’s nursery school, where she spends half the day. Special little rituals prep her for difficult transitions. For example, in the evenings, when we get the sense that she’s getting tired (it varies by as much as an hour), we start picking up toys, put on some soothing music, and set the kitchen timer for about 10 minutes. When the timer rings, she knows it’s time to go wash her hands, put on PJs, and brush teeth. Then we have our evening breastfeeding session in an arm chair, she puts her teddy bears to bed, and her dad reads her a story before lights out. This didn’t work overnight – it definitely took a couple weeks before she accepted the fact that the kitchen timer ringing meant it was time to wash hands – but pretty soon the transition was no longer accompanied by tears, and now she automatically goes into the bathroom within about a minute of the timer ringing!

    Stephanie´s last blog post…surviving a cold/flu with a nursling

  37. What a great website! I am definitely a simple mom too. This list of ideas is just excellent.

    Emily´s last blog post…Lily Haven

  38. This was a terrific post! I’m a huge fan of routine and it’s helped us stay sane. I’m home with soon-to-be-two-year-old twin boys and a 3.5 year old girl, so our house stays busy. I’ve found that our errands schedule is just as important as our stay-at-home schedule. My kids are much happier these days if we head out right after breakfast (it used to be post-afternoon-nap and then it was post lunchtime/pre-afternoon-nap until the boys dropped their morning nap; you just have to adapt and flex as the kids grow and change!). Everyone is fresh and ready. So, we go to Bible study one morning, the grocery store another day, the gym for me to workout 2 other days, and 1 day is home. We only plan 1, maybe 2 errands in a row and are back by lunchtime for sure. It’s hard for us to meet any kind of real schedule time-wise these days, so I’ve not committed to anything other than the one Bible study and we’re not too stressed as a result. We just get out the door once breakfast is completely cleaned up, whenever that is. I also dress my kids (and myself) completely before breakfast. Then we’re ready for the day.

    Betsy´s last blog post…Previous Easter-Related Posts

  39. This is such an amazing article on so many levels–you gave such great tips & even better insight into the life of a mother. I love #16 with the quote trying to clean while kids are still growing-wonderful! My mother’s friend used to tell my dad (who was fairly type-A about everything:)) that you can’t grow grass and kids.

    I wrote a post on my blog last fall about an organization tip that’s changed my life–and it still has. Every week that I do it, I feel like you feel about getting so much done since you stopped watching TV–amazed! :) This tip has saved me & my daughters hours & hours of stress & frantic running around! :) http://www.themogulmom.com/2008/09/03/organization-american-girl-style/

    Thanks again for such a great post–I’m forwarding it to all the moms I know!
    Heather Allard

  40. I’m a dedicated lurker in this web-world, but this post moved me so much I just had to say thank you. I’m a newly single mom, who was a stay at home mom; I also work from home, and recently found out that I have ADD. Where I once was “organized enough”, since being on my own and 100% responsible for everything, to say I’ve been overwhelmed is an understatement.

    Now, there was nothing new in your post that I haven’t read in the past year as I try to get stuff done – but, you did an excellent job of putting it all together in one post… Perfect for my ADD mind!

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you and I have really enjoyed your blog since I found it a few months ago.

    Janette Reinke
    Passion Parties Ind. Consultant & Single Mom

  41. Nap time and alone time is a necessity in my home. I just get too worn out if I don’t get a break. It is the only routine that stays no matter what. All the other routines work around that time. Love this post.

    kyndale´s last blog post…for the love of ICE CREAM!!

  42. Great list!

    Susan (A Happy Heart at Home)´s last blog post…Our grandbaby has arrived!

  43. I can\’t remember how I stumbled across this post on your blog. It happened a day or so ago and I didn\’t have the time to sit down and read it but since I am in the process of setting up more of a routine for my day with littles I knew I wanted to read it. And so I have, and it was JUST what I needed. I also want to go through and follow all the links in the post since they are all so relevant to my season of life! Since Crystal @ Biblical Womanhood has taken a little break from blogging, I\’ve been meandering around trying to find a blog to read. Sure there are plenty out there but I don\’t want to spend days reading blogs. I\’m more inclined to have just a few that post regularly about things that apply to me. And I\’ve found your blog – hurray! I agree with all your points – especially the TV one. I watch TV with dh in the evening sometimes but that is it. I don\’t find that there is much on these days that I am missing anyway. Oh, this is long. Oops. I look forward to reading through your archives and will be adding you to my blogger reader!!

    Jenn @ Beautiful Calling´s last blog post…I’m a Princess!

  44. This was awesome to read this today!

    I have been loathing the task of coming up with a new schedule for me and my son (who is almost 4). Our old one just wasn’t working anymore. It seemed much easier when he was a baby to figure out what needed to be tweaked. Now I am wanting things to revolve more around what mommy needs throughout the day.

    Bless you!

    :)

    niki´s last blog post…Spring is Here! Got Allergies?

  45. Great advice. My first time here, found you via BizzieMommy. Looking forward to reading more.

    Winks & Smiles,
    Wifey

  46. I like this – keeping it simple, focused, one step at a time. I was reading about this exact concept (baby steps) in a book called Power of Small… the same concept, only related to business. The basic gist: If you put one foot in front of the other, you get where you’re going – without completely wiping yourself out.

    BTW – the “less TV” concept sounds good, but winds up with me spending 9-11 in front of the computer screen, finishing projects and researching new ways to teach multiplication… not sure it’s really making life simpler LOL!

    Lisa

  47. Hi,

    I just wanted to say this post, really hit home for me. I am a perfectionist to the core. I want to do everything, which sent me into severe PPD with my first son. Now that I have my second we are doing much better and slowly learning to expect the chaos that comes with having two little ones, (17 mths, and 4 mths) I really enjoyed your post.

  48. I really need some sort of a schedule and reading this article has inspired me. As a work-at-home parent, I need to use every hour in my day as best as I can, while still making time for the kids. Having work in the next room all the time can make it hard to really focus on the family. Thanks for some great tips and inspiration!

    GoEverywhere Team´s last blog post…eXpresso brings MS Office document collaboration to GoEverywhere

  49. Here from RIMD.

    LOVE, love, love this list. Excellent, excellent advice that I plan top put into practice. Thank you for sharing. Totally inspiring!

    Sarah @ Short Stop´s last blog post…And, After She Was Gone, Joy Arrived.

  50. thank you so much for posting this. scheduling has been a big issue for me these past several months and this was really helpful

  51. avatar
    Patricia Maine says:

    Thanks for this great post. I’ve been struggling with this for some time now. I was previously reading an article on daughters.com about helping your kids too much. I thought the most important bit that applies to me was Find your three MITs and Write Things Down.

  52. avatar
    Sarah Hawley says:

    Great list and so true. It’s funny how the obvious ones like setting a timer and blitzing through the house seem silly, but really work. My husband and I do this every night – 20 minutes on the micro timer and when it goes off we stop. The house is in better shape and I am not a neurotic mess with a gross house (which really bugs since I work from home and try to be the COO of the house)!

  53. I just stumbled upon this blog post when searching for something about balance at home.

    I have been home for almost 2 years now, but still struggle with it. My daughter was 10 months when I transitioned to home, and we now have a little boy as well.

    What I struggle with is getting MY chores done. My kids are so whiny and clingy all the time. They just expect me to be their playmate. My daughter is getting to the point where she can help with some chores, so we are starting that. But my son is too small, and is actually at the point where he just wants to get into everything (9 months).

    They are with me all the time – we just moved to a new state where we have no friends or family, and very few people to call to babysit. Getting the cleaning, baking or grocery shopping done is a challenge.

    I’ve tried to institute “room time” for my daughter, where she can play or read quietly, but she just screams and puts up such a fuss. It’s terrible. I get more of a headache from her doing that than with her running around while I do what I need to get done.

    My mom had 9 and I’ll never know how she managed. My husband wants a third, but with so little time to get my things done (let alone dream of having a hobby again!), I’m not up for it at all. I know once they are older, they can watch a younger sibling or play by themselves more, but that day seems so far off.

    • I just wanted to reply to you, Vicky and give you a virtual hug…hang in there! I also wanted to mention that I’m betting Tsh is doing most of this without family support as she lives abroad…so hopefully that will encourage you. ~Marilyn

  54. I love that you mentioned that you don’t need a master list, just one for the week. I work FT outside my home and the evenings and weekends have become one giant treadmill: I’m moving but not getting anywhere. I spend my stressful evenings picking up the same toys over and over again while battling the mounting paper stacks and clutter. The weekends are the same, only longer. I tried creating a master schedule; it was very, very detailed and rigid. Obviously, it didn’t work. But using a weekly schedule for my FT work, freelance work, housework, kid time, etc is much better to handle. Thanks so much for suggesting this!

  55. I like to think of forming family life in terms of a rhythm. Yes routine is the same thing, but rhythm implies a bit more that you will shape things as the children grow. Our kids are now almost 12 and 9. I was a SAHM before there were such acronyms.

    Please do not rush to teach your 3 year old to read. Read to her, teach her to have a quiet time and she will read as naturally as water rolls down a hill, when it is the right time for her. You will look back on this time of innocence and think “What was the hurry?”

    • I have to reply to the comment that before a child learns to read they are more innocent. I believe that the ability to communicate, read, and use words makes children more civilized and in many circumstances so far with my daughter, better behaved.

      tacy´s last blog post…Check out the new blog

  56. Wow, thanks so much for the tips!

    Kathleen Kane´s last blog post…Congratulations Ana Ortiz!

  57. avatar
    Stephanie says:

    I have one son and just gained four more kids via my bf. love them all to death but this stay at home mom thing is scary! :))

    I’ve been searching for days for ways to make it go smoother and I think this post just might be the ticket! Thanks so much for sharing this!!

  58. avatar
    Samantha Green says:

    I just want to say that this is the best. I have a 4 year old and a 2 month old and both husband and I run a business out of our house (where we have to take online and phone orders). We have never had a schedule for our 4 year old or our selves and now with a 2 month old we can see all sorts of issues. So many schedules that I were looking up had just stuff for the little ones and nothing for the adult, I love yours since it goes around work at home parents. This is a god send to me as I am going crazy and not getting anything done. I am going to create our new schedules to start tomorrow. I also have decided to create a schdule for my 4 year old that has picures of clocks next to things he will be doing (playtime, nap/bed time, ect) and a clock for him to look at, he is very independent and I think it will also help him know when its time to do things. THANKS AGAIN!!

  59. Defining routine for children also helps them in many ways. There are many benefits of daily routine of children
    Deepak´s latest post: Daily Routine of Children

  60. LOVE this! And thank you so much for the reminders! I have 5 kids ages 6, 3, 2, 2, and 1.5. Whew! Summer is almost over and it’s time to jump into a new normal. All of these tips will help me immensely!
    Karissa´s latest post: Natural: The Easy Way

  61. These are great and really practical tips. I really think #20 is most important. We often forget to take care of ourselves. We can’t really keep others happy unless we are.
    Priya´s latest post: Tips to help Child Adjust to School

  62. This is exactly what I need to do. Finding a routine that works is probably my greatest challenge in life right now. Thank you so much for these timely points of advice!
    Julia´s latest post: Ginger Meringue Kisses Made Simple

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