Update: I first shared this post a few years ago when our youngest child was in preschool & our older boys were in elementary school. Since then, it has been one of my most requested posts so I wanted to re-share it with today, as it hasn’t changed much over the years (it works well for us).
What is the daily schedule of a stay at home mom? Well… I am a stay at home mom of four kids. Before this, we both worked outside of the home, so we’ve been able to experience both sides of how things work. Now I work from home as a blogger, while being home with our kids…
So what does a stay at home mom’s schedule look like for a mom with kids in preschool & elementary school? Here goes…
Daily Schedule of a Stay at Home Mom
Before I start, I wanted to let you know that I send out tips about once a week via e-mail. You can sign up here if you’d like to receive them, too.
One of the questions that I get MOST often is “What is the daily schedule of a stay at home mom?”
Here is my daily Stay at Home Mom Schedule:
6:45 Wake Up
I wake up for the day around 6:45 (during the week, but weekends are a little later. 🙂 ). Yes, I should get up earlier and some days I do. I really feel so much better when I get up 30 minutes before the kids, but I find myself tip-toeing around the house, trying not to make a sound, so it’s just not worth it to me.)
On the days that I don’t wake up early, I’m up with the kids. (Our kids are not allowed to get out of bed until 7:00… If your kids are waking up too early, try doing this.) We started this when they were young because I didn’t want them to be walking around the house without my knowledge (safety reasons).
6:45: I make my bed before I leave my bedroom (before I even get dressed for the day). This has been a habit of mine and I promise you it just helps you to feel better & more “put together” the minute that you wake up. I get ready for the day before I go downstairs. PS- This is when I turn the shower water on to heat up.
6:50 Throw a load of laundry into the washing machine. A load a day keeps the chaos away. I do this every morning. It forces you to finish it later. 🙂 LOL!
6:55– QUICK shower (less than 5 min. I don’t wash my hair in the mornings.) Get dressed, do my makeup & brush my hair (Takes about 10 min. for this).
I’m downstairs by about 7:15 and immediately unload the dishwasher. (We usually have to do it twice a day, so I do the mornings & the kids do the afternoon).
Once the dishwasher is empty, I make breakfast for the kids (usually Pepperoni & eggs or oatmeal – those are the favorites in our house) If someone isn’t hungry, I’ll at least have them drink a Carnation Instant Breakfast before heading off, but that’s rare. Usually, they do pretty good about eating breakfast.
If the kids aren’t up by 7:30, we wake them up.
Now we just rush around & get ready for the day: breakfast, brushing teeth, getting dressed, hair fixed, backpacks ready to go). I have to be ready before this begins or we would never get out of the house on time.
If they finish early and have time to spare, they can watch TV until it’s time to leave the house (Use this chart as a reference).
8:20 Older Kids Leave For School
We used to have them ride the bus, but now we take them to school, which is about 2 minutes (no exaggeration) from our house. Either way is fine with me because it’s so close.
8:40 Younger kids to school
Once I have finished the school drop-off, I try to work out for 45 minutes and then come home to get some work done, clean, or use this time to run errands- like a trip to the grocery store.
Tip- I try to order my groceries online to Walmart or Harris Teeter so I can just swing by & pick them up in the morning.
10:30: Make Dinner (yes, really)
This sounds crazy, but if you can make dinner now, it works out to your benefit. I can’t tell you how much it helps when that 5:00 time rolls around and I can say “Oh- yep… it’s in the crockpot.” Or “Tossing the casserole into the oven now”, instead of “Oh no! What should I make tonight? What’s thawed? Oh man- nothing. Who wants chicken nuggets?” 🙂
Once dinner is prepped, I check e-mails, FB, etc… during this time.
11:00: One morning a week, I try to volunteer in our kids’ classrooms. I taught at the school where they go to school, so it’s a joy to go back and see my old co-workers while I’m meeting my children’s friends & getting to see what our kids are doing. We have four kids so I’ll try to rotate which class I’m in each week. I also try to limit the time to an hour or two, because of preschool pickup time at noon. (Preschool is about two minutes from the elementary school.)
On days when we don’t have preschool:
We still do what we need to do – run errands, etc…
If we can, we will just stay at home and play! I am a play therapist and I was a teacher before I had our kids, so I completely understand the importance of playing and working with our young children. It makes a world of difference. I also know how important it is to teach them to entertain themselves, so she will go to her room for an hour at a time and just play with her toys while I get things done (clean, fold laundry, prepare dinner). I don’t have to say anything except “Go ahead and play for a little bit and then we’ll ____ later” (bake cookies, go on a walk, swing on the swings…) and she runs off to play with her princesses or dolls.
12:00 Pick Up Time
Once preschool is over, we have lunch at home and just play & have free-time for the afternoon. This is more free play since preschool just needed. I usually allow ONE 30-minute show after preschool. (Wild Kratts, Curious George and Peppa Pig are favorites for our younger kids) then I just say “no more electronics” and that’s that… off to find toys or draw or paint. This is when I get some housework done, make calls, schedule appointments, etc…
Allie, our youngest, will help me with little things like matching socks or dusting with my thieves spray… although most days I’ll find her having a tea party with her dolls. She has always loved playing with her toys.
3:30 Kids Home From School
We have a snack (all 4 kids have one).
Snack tip: Have fresh fruit & veggies cut & on the table when they walk in the door. They will eat them because they will be so hungry from a long day at school. I allow ONE 30-minute show after school, to let the kids decompress a bit.
This is when I check emails, FB messages, etc… It’s 30 minutes, so enough time to do these things and not get sidetracked.
We work on sight words, math, reading and writing. If they don’t have homework, they just read for 20 minutes. I was a teacher & 20 minutes a night will help your kids SO MUCH.
As soon as they finish their homework, they can play before dinner (if they have time)
4:30 – 5:30 Dinner (4:30 if practice, 5:30 if nothing)
I am a big fan of easy dinners. I pin every meal that I make here. They are usually simple things like casseroles, crock-pot meals, pasta meals or baked chicken. After dinner, the kids help Mickey and I clean up the kitchen. Everyone does their part and takes their things to the dishwasher. No one leaves the kitchen until it is cleaned up and back to normal.
After dinner, I run the dishwasher. The kids will unload it an hour later.
Sports practice usually happens after dinner, so if only a few of our kids have practice, they go with Mickey (he is an assistant coach for all of our kid’s teams) while I get the little ones ready for bed and start their reading.
Some nights, we have baseball & football on the same night, so we just divide & conquer. If it’s wrestling or lacrosse, the three boys all go together and I keep our daughter home. If it’s her dance night, they all come with me because it’s at 4:00. Just depends on the season & the sport. 🙂
Bedtime routine: We have a snack, then head up for bath time. Our kids get a bath or shower (almost) every night- it’s part of their routine. After bath time, I send each of the kids to their rooms to play or read until I come in. One at a time, I go into their rooms to tell them goodnight:
I spend about 20 minutes in each child’s room at night. I start with the youngest child because the older kids can be up later and should be reading longer. When I go in, I read one book (or they read one to me), we read the Bible or a devotional and talk about it. We pray. We talk about our days. Then, I sing them a song, kiss them goodnight and go to the next room. They no longer come out of their rooms (we dealt with this already)
While I’m with one of our kids, Mickey is with another, until we’ve each seen all four kids.
I put our younger kids to bed at 7:00. Once our kids turn 9, I move their bedtime to 8:00, but no later, unless it’s a night of sports. You can read that post here: Why I put my kids to bed at 7.
If it is a night of sports practice, our younger kids will be in bed before the older kids get home. Our older boys get home shortly after and I give them a snack (cereal, oatmeal, smoothie) and send them up for a shower and they can read in their rooms for 20 minutes until I come to tuck them in.
8:30: My Time (housework, online time, watching a movie, reading)
“Us” Time (work, clean, relax).
I will clean up the downstairs, whatever is leftover from the day (the kids help throughout the day). Mickey usually does some yard work or folds laundry. We watch TV during this time (sometimes we’ll play a game). I use this time, at night, to catch up on blogging.
Ps- Interested in blogging? You can learn how to start on here.
We get everything ready for the next day. Then, I get a (long) bath, read a book or magazine & Mickey usually watches TV. before we go to bed. (I even lay out my own outfit & the kid’s outfits every night before bed because it makes the mornings less stressful).
On that note- I’m sure I’ve left out a ton, but it’s enough to give you a good idea. 🙂
11:00 pm – 12:00 am – Bedtime (and I’d like to say I go right to bed, but I usually read for 20 minutes or watch TV) 😉
Stay at Home Mom ‘Tools’ that I Love:
This first clock is great! It will change colors when it is time for your kids to wake up in the morning.
I use my Catch All Planner every day: It has pages for menus, school, weekly planner, sports, meal plans, homework, budget planning, daily schedules, shopping lists & more…
You just download it, print it & get started… right now. No need to wait for it.
Here is an example of the cleaning section… It has this for EVERY section.
You’ll be so organized, trust me! 🙂
SAVING TIME TIPS to make life easier:
- Don’t Iron – Yep, I never iron. I use wrinkle release spray for everything. It takes too much time to iron and I hate having to have the iron out, waiting for it to cool. I like to keep it put away and off of my bathroom or laundry room countertops. If my husband wants something ironed, he does it (not because I don’t offer- he has just been ironing his own clothes since college, so he has kept on doing this himself) – fine by me.
- Getting the kids involved in doing chores (age-appropriate chores)
- Prepare the kids for school the night before (here is a post about getting the kids ready quicker in the morning)
- Do more online. I do a lot online now… emails, birthday party invitations, banking, even grocery shopping (I order a lot of my groceries to our local grocery store and I can drive up and have them delivered to our car with their pick-up line.).
- Don’t get online when I am cleaning! If I have chores to do, I have to stay offline and keep the TV off or I will only get 25% of my things accomplished. This one is huge.
- Stick to my schedule. Every day. This is really important. Kids need this as much as I do- I realized this during my first month of teaching. Kids need a routine. It makes the whole day flow nicely.
- I have a course that I run called Whole House DeClutter Course and it gives you daily tasks to have your house be clutter free. Thousands of moms have taken the course with me and have come back with stories of success & emotional healing (because clutter is actually linked to depression).
- Make crock-pot meals to free up time (like this french dip sandwich recipe!)
- MORE POSTS YOU MIGHT LIKE:
If you are getting ready to potty train, my potty training tips walk you through just how to do it (with a schedule to keep you on top of it.) We don’t want potty training to take up all of your time for weeks on end… do it all in one weekend.
I am a new stay at home mom, can’t wait to use your tips! They sound great! Thank you!
Lorrin @ embrace the perfect mess says
this looks a lot like my day- except i’m pretty sure you’re more organized than i am!! haha!
Becky (Your Modern Family) says
Sue J says
Thank you.., this is the first blog I ever read that to me, is realistic and honest. For one starting by honestly saying how and what time your day begins. Most have pie in the sky ideals, that I can’t even conceive of their plan working for me. Trying to become more productive without mentally beating myself up.
A lot like my day other than the fact that I only have two kids and bth f them are at school from 8 to 2. S, am able t work n my blog and projects during those hours.
Chanele (Good Life of a Housewife) says
Love your Tips! I always love reading how other moms spend their days!
I am also a SAHM of four kids – ages 8, 4 and 2 year old twins. Even though I don’t stop moving all day at the end of the day it feels like nothing has gotten done. I am going to try and get more of a routine as you have detailed to help me feel more in control of my day. My one question is – how much time would you say you spend cleaning the house every day? I feel like either I clean all day so the house look so good, but the kids are neglected… or I spend more time playing and engaging with the kids but I’ve ignored the fact that the house is a disaster. How do you balance it?
I actually have a chore a day I complete and then the common areas I do kind of what I call surface stuff pick up shoes and toys. And also I can clean as the kids change activities such a snack time to play time to reading time kind of things helps as well.
Angela Austin says
I am a new stay at home home(might even be temporary). I have been feeling completely un organized and all over the place. This was such a blessing for me to read. Very y encouraging. Thank you.
Becky (Your Modern Family) says
I’m so glad. 🙂
I’m curious, when are you showering? You’re a beautiful person and I can’t imagine your self routine takes less than 45 minutes.
Becky (Your Modern Family) says
That’s hilarious. 🙂 That post is a few years old, so not sure what I did then… but now: I take a bath every night. Then, in the mornings, I’ll get a quick (5 min) shower just to wake up/refresh. I am usually showered, dressed with makeup on in about 10 minutes. I don’t wash my hair in the morning, so after it’s washed & dried (at night) – I’m good until the morning. In the morning, I set it in rollers and they stay in while I make breakfast, etc… & then when I take the curlers out (the curlers actuallY STRAIGHTEN my hair b/c it’s really curly if left to its own drying), it’s done for a couple of days. All in all I def. take less than 45 min. a day… more like 10-15. I’ve just never been a person to take long getting ready though, so I’ve always been in this sort of routine. (oh- and I ALWAYS pick out my clothes for the next day before I go to bed).
Hope that helps.
Reading your blog has given me so much hope and I pray I follow your steps religiously so as to have a stress free day. Thank you once again and I would like you to
teach me how to blog I have a very interesting aspect to let people benefit and as the same time having my own money😁
sonia perkins says
I have to be up at 5 to get hubby off to work and make his lunch, then at 6 got to get our daughter ready for the bus by 630, I homeschool our youngest son so what tips do you have for me balancing daily life and homeschool?
Becky (Your Modern Family) says
I don’t homeschool, so I might not be the best advice-give in this area… however; many of my friend’s homeschool. They run their day just as they would if they were in public school: Some days they do: 8:00 start time, 11:00 break (free time), lunch 1:00-3:00 homeschool work.
Other days they do 8:00-12:30 work (no big breaks), then they are done for the day & have lunch, etc…
When their kids are doing their work (writing, etc…) they do some housework, cook, etc…
Hope that helps.
Great tips! I wish I were this organized, but I’m trying to do better. I definitely agree that kids need structure in their day a much as I do, and it helps eliminate problems when they know what’s expected.