This post may contain affiliate links. Read my whole disclosure here.
Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job! And it can become pretty overwhelming when everything is chaotic and unpredictable. This is why creating a successful stay-at-home mom schedule is so important!
It took me so time to realize how important a schedule is for both me and my son. A schedule allows him to have a lot of playful activities with me. And it also allows me to have time for my tasks or to simply enjoy some (well-deserved) breaks. Before starting a schedule I had a lot of things on my to-do list both for me and for him but at the end of the day, I often realized that I only did few of them. A schedule is a great way to stay focused on what I want to do every day!
There are a lot of benefits of having a schedule. But I will only share with you the one that I think it’s the more important. Having a schedule is allowing us to be more intentional with daily life. And this is a wonderful gift for us and our kids!
Making and keeping a schedule doesn’t have to be overwhelming! On the contrary, it can be the best thing you can do for your family! If you want to try it, here is a guide to walk you through all the necessary steps to create your own successful schedule.
Here are 3 important things that I’ve learned while creating our schedule:
Young kids are often unpredictable and it can be hard to start a schedule with them. But once you manage to do it, things will get much easier. You’ll have time for a lot of activities with them and this will certainly make them happy and more willing to cooperate!
Sometimes kids will not be willing to do some activities on the list. Or their attention span will be very short. This is normal, especially with toddlers! The great news is that it becomes easier with time!
In my opinion, if you have young kids, it’s better to plan only one learning activity in the morning and one in the afternoon. In the rest of the time, schedule enough time for games and free play!
“Me-time” is very important to me! That time is the one that “recharges” my batteries and allows me to be playful and patient with my child. But it’s not easy to get enough “me-time” with a young child around!
So the best tip that I’ve learned is to alternate my free time with playful activities with Bogdan. After I play with him, Bogdan is more willing to play by himself and allow me to do what I want. A child who feels loved and connected will be more likely to engage in independent play for longer periods of time. This is why I always schedule breaks for me after engaging activities with my boy.
The most difficult thing to do is to create the first weekly schedule! Seeing a blank paper in front of you may make you feel like you have no idea on how to plan your week.
To make this easier, here are some steps to do before filling in the schedule.
The simplest way to include games and learning activities in your child’s schedule is to have a list of activity ideas always at hand. Each time you create a new weekly schedule you will be able to check that list and be inspired!
To make the list more effective, select some major themes for your activities. You can either select themes related to the skills you want to teach your child (fine motor skills, literacy, counting, etc) or themes related to his interests (farm, vehicles, colors, animals, etc).
It all depends on what you think works best for you and your children.
Take some time to brainstorm ideas for each theme. It may take you an hour or two to do it but it is totally worthwhile! The list will give you inspiration for weeks of play and activities.
You’ll find a template in the planner at the end of the article. You just need to write the themes above each column and start making the list! First, think about activities that you’ve done in the past and your kids have enjoyed.
Then, to add new ideas on the list, make some online research online. I almost always use Pinterest for this! I just type the theme and a lot of ideas pop up! 🙂
Write the name of the activity on the list and save the link to the activity to have all the details on hand. I use Pinterest boards and also a simple Word document where I collect links.
After you have at least 5 themes and at least 3-4 activity ideas for each one, you can start creating your first weekly schedule.
You can find a template in the printable file at the end of the article. The “mom’s list” should include all the tasks that you need (or want) to include in your weekly schedule. They can be chores (like laundry, grocery shopping) or more pleasant activities (like a bubble bath :-)).
Before you start, you need to decide what planner to use. If you already have a family planner you have that covered. If not, you can download our printable planner at the end of the article.
Here are the 4 steps that I use to create my schedule. They are really simple and it won’t take you long to have your first schedule ready!
1. Block a time when you’ll focus on creating the schedule.
You only need half and hour but you need to be consistent every week. Sunday evening can be a good time for planning!
2. Write down the regular daily activities on the list. These may include: morning/bedtime routine, meals (and meal preps), naps and all the things that you won’t normally change in your schedule.
(One little trick: If you use the printable planner you can write down the regular activities and then make copies of the filled-in schedule. This way you will not need to re-write them every week.)
3. Write down all the specific activities you need to do that week. These may include: doctor appointments, errands, visits, school events, etc.
4. Include the rest of the activities on the list! Now you’ll be able to see exactly what time spots are available for you to plan the rest of the activities. Use the activity ideas list and the “mom list” to get inspiration for filling in the schedule.
Don’t forget to alternate the times when you are focused on the child (games and activities) with the ones with a different focus (chores or mom breaks). Also, alternate active activities (like movement games) with calm activities (like puzzles). And don’t forget to plan enough time for free play!
Once you have created 4-5 weekly schedules, you can reuse the ideas! You can create a rotation schedule that will make things incredibly easy! Just make sure to save all the weekly schedules and activity ideas!
The printable file contains the templates for the weekly schedule, the activity ideas list, and the “mom’s list”. Click on the below image to see a preview of the planner.
To download the printable you just need to enter your email address below. This will also give you access to the Playful Notes community and our weekly newsletter. You will find there a lot of other ideas and our full printable collection.
photo credit preview & Pinterest image: Evgeny Atamanenko / Shutterstock.com