How To Create A Realistic Stay At Home Mom Schedule With A Toddler

how to create a realistic stay at home mom schedule with a toddler

My stay at home mom schedule with a toddler can change from day to day depending on my daughter’s mood. Despite that, I’ve begun to learn how to be productive as a stay at home mom. 

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When it comes to toddler schedules and planning for the day, 3 types of moms exist…

Mom A: “What’s a schedule?! My toddler wakes up a whole new person every day!”

Mom B: “It’s not really a schedule, but a typical day looks like…”

Mom C: “7:00am: wake up and eat breakfast, 8:00am: get dressed, 8:30am: free play…”

If you’re mom A and you want to be more like mom B or C, you’ve come to the right place! 

You see, ever since I was a teenager I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I would watch The Real Housewives of Orange County and dream of sitting in my mansion sipping wine by the pool with the other stay at home moms while our kids played Marco Polo. 

Spoiler alert: that’s not even close to how I spend my days.

With a toddler, you never know what personality you’ll get when they wake up…like a jack in the box. 

But today we’ll figure out a stay at home mom toddler schedule that’ll work for your lifestyle. 

Routine…? Schedule…? What’s the difference? 

A routine is a series of steps or a process you do around a particular time. 

For example, your toddler’s bedtime routine may go like this:

  • Bath
  • Pajamas
  • Read
  • Sleep 

Without a daily schedule, you may do this routine at 8pm one night and 9:30pm the next night. 

A schedule is a plan for something to take place at a particular time. On a daily schedule, your toddler’s bedtime routine would happen around 8:30pm every single night.

Routines are crucial because your toddler will learn what to expect. For instance, she knows when she puts on her zippered pajamas after a bath it’s time for bed.

A schedule makes your life easier and adds structure to your busy day. 


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    The secret sauce for sticking to your schedule 

    Unfortunately, you can’t tell your child the schedule and he’s like, “sounds great mom!” It takes persistence and consistency for your child to adjust to the new schedule. 

    Here are a few tips to help your toddler stick to the schedule:

    • Meals at the same time every day (try this meal planner with meal ideas and trackers)
    • Bedtime and naps at the same time 
    • Schedule downtime or quiet time 
    • Tell your toddler what’s happening at each time (ex: “it’s time to read a story now”)
    • Be flexible 

    Key Takeaway: When your toddler knows what to expect he’ll be less anxious and have fewer meltdowns. 

    Related: How To Be Productive As A Stay At Home Mom

    Little baby eating fruit puree indoors

    Is daycare better than staying at home?

    As a stay at home mom, you may feel like your child will flourish more in a daycare setting around other children his age. 

    A recent study showed, “the more time children spent in child care, the more likely they were to be disobedient and have trouble getting along with others” which may be contrary to what you would’ve thought.

    You can create structure in your home with a toddler schedule. Your toddler can interact with other children his age at these places:

    • Mommy and me classes
    • Library storytime
    • Gym childcare 
    • Children’s museum 
    • Mother’s day out program 
    • The park
    • Tinkergarten

    Key Takeaway: Your child can flourish and have great learning experiences at home with you. Weigh the pros and cons for your family to decide if daycare may be a good option.  

    Should you take your toddler outside every day?

    Although it’s not necessary to take your toddler outside every day, there are some great benefits.

    According to Harvard Medical School, some of these benefits include:

    • Sunshine and vitamin D
    • Exercise
    • Executive function- skills that teach your toddler prioritization and troubleshooting 
    • Taking risks
    • Socialization 
    • Appreciation of nature 

    The weather doesn’t always allow for outdoor play, but when it’s nice outside get your toddler outdoors as much as possible. 

    5 step method for creating your stay at home mom schedule with a toddler

    A routine will not only be helpful to you, but it’ll also teach your toddler what to expect on a day to day basis. 

    To get started creating your schedule, it’s important to plan around the needs of your toddler. What is she already used to doing? Start with her current routine and make small adjustments until you reach the desired schedule. 

    This daily planning template can help you get started.


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      Step 1: Write down ideal sleep schedule

      Sleep is an important skill for your little one to learn so I always plan my day around her sleep schedule but I also make sure to plan my sleep schedule as well so I can enjoy some quiet time.

      We try to wake up around the same time every morning, take a nap around the same time every afternoon, and go to bed around the same time every night (even on weekends).

      When my toddler’s sleep schedule is thrown off it affects the entire household so keeping her sleep routine consistent is a high priority.

      And if your little one gets thrown off their routine I share a few helpful strategies below that can get them back on track.

      Step 2: Write down meal times

      The next thing I focus on is creating consistent meal times because nobody wants to be hangry!

      This Meal Planning Bundle has 40+ meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert. It also includes meal trackers so you’ll know which recipes your little one likes and dislikes.

      Step 3: Add in playtime and activities

      Now I create a flexible schedule for how I want our day to go (emphasis on the word flexible).

      I make time for planned activities (this activity pack includes over 20 weeks of fun and educational activities that’ll prepare your toddler for kindergarten) and plenty of free playtime so she can use her imagination.

      Step 4: Make time for yourself

      Look through your schedule and make sure you’re making time for yourself so you can regroup and recharge your battery.

      Step 5: Put schedule where you can see it daily

      I hang our schedule on the refrigerator so everyone can see the structure of the day.

      This way I’m constantly reminded of what to do next and I can prepare things in advance.

      5 sample stay at home mom schedules — from real moms!

      A few toddler moms were kind enough to share their toddler schedules to help you get a few ideas and make adjustments to fit your daily routine.

      And remember that toddlers learn through play so include plenty of playtime and downtime so they’re not exhausted and grumpy before bedtime.

      Sample schedule 13 months old:

      • 9:00am- Wake up
      • 9:15am- Breakfast
      • 9:45am- Morning activity
      • 11:00am- Snack
      • 11:30am- Playtime 
      • 12:30pm- Lunch
      • 1:00pm- Nap
      • 2:30pm- Afternoon activity
      • 3:00pm- Snack 
      • 3:30pm- Playtime/ family time
      • 6:30pm- Dinner
      • 7:30pm- Family time
      • 8:30pm- Bedtime routine
      • 9:00pm- Sleep

      Sample schedule 18 months old:

      • 6:30am- Wake up & get dressed
      • 7:15am- Breakfast
      • 8:00am- Mother’s day out program
      • 12:00pm- Lunch (back at home)
      • 12:30pm- Nap
      • 2:00pm- Snack
      • 2:30pm- Crafts/play
      • 4:00pm- Educational tv
      • 4:30pm- Play outside 
      • 5:30pm- Dinner
      • 6:30pm- Bedtime routine/ quiet play
      • 7:30pm- Sleep

      Sample schedule 21 months old:

      • 8:30am- Wake up and eat breakfast
      • 9:00am- Playtime
      • 10:30am- Snack
      • 11:00am- Playtime
      • 12:00pm- Lunch
      • 12:30pm- Nap 
      • 1:00pm- Run errands/ play date/ snack while out
      • 5:00pm- Playtime (back at home)
      • 6:30pm- Dinner
      • 7:30pm- Bedtime routine/ quiet playtime
      • 8:30pm- Sleep

      Sample schedule 27 months old (with no nap):

      • 7:30am- Wake up, use potty, get dressed, brush teeth (“independently I’m just there for support” statement from mom)
      • 8:30am- Breakfast
      • 9:00am- Plays on tablet
      • 9:30am- Playtime
      • 11:30am- Lunch
      • 12:30pm- Outside
      • 1:30pm- Crafts
      • 2:30pm- Cartoons
      • 3:00pm- Snack
      • 4:00pm- Playtime 
      • 5:30pm- Dinner
      • 6:30pm- Bedtime routine
      • 7:00pm- Quiet play (potty right before bed)
      • 8:00pm- Sleep

      Sample schedule 3 years old:

      • 8:00am- Wake up, potty, get dressed for the day
      • 8:30am- Breakfast 
      • 9:00am- Educational tv
      • 9:30am- Crafts/ playtime
      • 10:30am- Snack
      • 11:00am- Playtime
      • 12:00pm- Lunch
      • 1:00pm-Playtime 
      • 2:00pm- Flash cards
      • 2:30pm- Snack & tablet
      • 3:00pm- Independent play
      • 3:30pm- Family time
      • 6:00pm- Dinner
      • 7:00pm- Quiet play
      • 7:30pm- Bedtime routine
      • 8:00pm- Sleep


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        The mistakes you’re probably making [and how to fix them]

        When creating your stay at home mom schedule, it’s easy to fall into traps that make it harder for you to be consistent with your new schedule. These simple tips and tricks will help you maximize your time and set you and your toddler up for success.  

        1. Be realistic

        You may try to squeeze in things you’ve been needing to get done for the last 6 months all into one day on your schedule. But don’t fall into the trap. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in one day with a toddler

        Schedule time for you to relax as well because it’s not healthy for you to keep going, going, going without a break or any downtime. Even better, schedule a 20-minute catnap for yourself to help you re-energize.

        2. Plan around nap time

        Plan around your toddler’s nap times or times when they get fussy. You don’t want to schedule a doctor’s appointment right in the middle of nap time and now you have a cranky toddler for the rest of the day.

        If your toddler doesn’t take naps anymore it’s important to incorporate quiet time. This will teach her how to play independently and give you time to re-energize during the day. 

        3. Work with your body

        I have the most energy in the mornings so that’s when I plan to get most of my tasks done. If I schedule a lot of tasks after my toddler’s bedtime when I have no energy and my eyelids feel like concrete slabs, most of it wouldn’t get done. 

        Don’t force yourself to work against your body for the sake of getting things done. When you’re working on low energy it’s natural to put in low effort and be less efficient because you’re trying to get it done. Use your natural productive times to be more efficient and get things done faster. 

        4. Be flexible

        Being a type-A personality and a stay at home mom is pretty conflicting. You’ve had to learn that you no longer control everything in your environment. 

        Be flexible with your schedule and plan for the toddler mood swings and your mood swings as well. One day you may wake up full of energy ready to conquer the world and other days may be a Netflix and chill mood. 

        Key Takeaway: Don’t be so hard on yourself and give yourself grace to not be productive every single day.

        5. Appreciate early mornings

        I’ve noticed the days I sleep in, I tend to have less energy and be in a worse mood. Waking up before my daughter is essential for me to get in the right frame of mind to dominate the day. 

        As hard as it may be to peel yourself out of bed, you’ll be glad you did it. Take this time to create a morning routine that gets you ready for an amazing day. 

        Related: 9 clever laundry hacks for busy moms with toddlers

        woman drinking coffee looking at phone while sitting in bed

        6. Create mini routines 

        Throughout the day I have mini routines that keep our household running like a well-oiled machine. My daily cleaning routine lowers my anxiety because I’m not overwhelmed by the mess and clutter. 

        Simple habits like cleaning after meals makes less work for you than letting all the dishes pile up. 

        7. Use timers

        Set a timer for 20 minutes to clean the kitchen. You won’t be as stressed to get things done and you’ll start with the mindset that you’ll do as much as you can and if you don’t finish it’s fine. 

        Find a way to keep for your toddler entertained while you race the clock. 

        8. Batch housework 

        Grouping similar tasks that require similar tools will save you time and energy. Task batching eliminates the time it takes your brain to process that you’ve moved onto a new task. 

        This would be like dusting the entire house instead of only dusting the living room. Or wiping down all surfaces at once rather than wiping the kitchen countertops and starting the whole cleaning process over in the bathroom. 

        9. Limit distractions 

        The science behind social media is to keep us glued to our phones and their apps. It’s created to be addictive

        Delete the apps off of your phone or lock yourself out of the apps for a certain amount of time to make it harder to access them. 

        10. Prioritize yourself 

        A nice bubble bath or pedicure refreshes your soul and makes life more bearable. 

        Make your needs a priority. 

        When you’re not functioning at 100%, your family suffers. You’re not the best version of yourself which means your toddler isn’t getting the best version of their mom. 


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          Oh no! My toddler is off their schedule. What should I do? 

          When a toddler gets off their sleep schedule it throws off the rest of the schedule. A few tricks to help your toddler get back on their sleep schedule include: 

          Use sunlight

          Keep it bright and fun during the day so your toddler knows it’s time to be awake. When you’re ready for him to go to sleep make the environment more peaceful. You can:

          • Play lullabies
          • Use white noise
          • Talk in a soft voice
          • Explain that it’s quiet time

          Sometimes you get your little one to sleep and notice they’re sleeping too long which will make it harder for him to go to sleep at the right bedtime. When you wake him up take him outside so the sunlight will help wake him up.

          Limit screens

          According to The Sleep Foundation, “The blue light that’s emitted from these screens [TV’s and electronic devices] can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, increase alertness, and reset the body’s internal clock (or circadian rhythm) to a later schedule. The end result: sleep-deprived or poorly rested kids who have essentially given themselves a mini case of jet lag.”

          Key Takeaway: A good rule to establish is no screen time for anyone 90 minutes before bed. You’ll all feel more rested and productive. 

          Slowly adjust bedtime

          Your toddler may go to sleep at 10pm and you’d like her to go to sleep at 8:30pm. To accomplish this, slowly adjust her bedtime by 15 minutes each night. That looks like this: 

          • Night 1 bedtime: 10pm
          • Night 2 bedtime: 9:45pm
          • Night 3 bedtime: 9:30pm

          Adjust the bedtime by 15-minute increments until you reach the desired bedtime. Once you reach the desired bedtime make sure you’re consistent every single night so you don’t undo all of your hard work. 

          Stop toddler boredom and try this…

          It’s no secret that toddlers are full of energy and can outlast the energizer bunny. They also have short attention spans which means you may run out of activity ideas before lunchtime. Here are over 20 weeks of fun activities that are educational and will prepare your little one for kindergarten.

          Don’t forget about yourself…

          Your toddler is entertained and your schedule is going as planned, then you notice you have no idea what to do with yourself during nap time or the extra hour of alone time after he goes to sleep. 

          This list of stay at home mom hobbies will give you a creative outlet but a few more ideas would be: 

          • Cleaning (this bundle of cleaning checklists will speed up the process)
          • Take a nap
          • Read a book 
          • Scroll social media
          • Take a bath
          • Watch Netflix

          Key Takeaway: The possibilities are endless and you can play around with different options until you find what you enjoy doing. 


          Grab your FREE guide with 10 easy toddler activities.

            No spam guarantee.

            Quick recap…

            This stay at home mom schedule with a toddler is a sure-fire way to become Mom C and have your days planned out which will increase your productivity. 

            To be successful with your stay at home mom schedule: 

            • Be realistic
            • Plan around nap time
            • Work with your body
            • Be flexible 
            • Appreciate early mornings 
            • Create mini routines
            • Use timers
            • Batch housework 
            • Limit distractions 
            • Prioritize yourself

            The key to making your schedule work is to be consistent. Test and adjust your schedule until it works for you and your little one. 

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