*UPDATE* I was asked about the “Reward Stars” mentioned during the dinner routine. I did a Facebook Live explaining. Here’s the video.
I’ve been asked about our daily schedule numerous times. I hesitate to share because I wasn’t sure how this would help anyone. Every family operates differently and this schedule works for my family during this season of life. Single Moms and full-time working parents have much different daily routines. However, if this helps anyone, I will be so happy!
I work from home, manage an Airbnb listing and have three very active boys ages 5,3, and 1. Our days, while never the same, are ALWAYS routine.
I’m certainly no “Super Mom” but structure can be any Mom’s super power. And I strongly believe…a lack of structure is a child’s kryptonite.
Kids NEED Structure
An analysis of 50 years of psychological research, published in Journal of Family Psychology, demonstrated even infants, toddlers and preschoolers are physically healthier and well-behaved when there are predictable routines for the family.
With such young children in my home, routines are vital to my boy’s development and let’s be honest… my mental stability. Their sleep is particularly important to me, so we’ve organized our daily schedule to protect and nurture nap-times. We don’t schedule play dates or activities after 11:30am because naps start around 12:30. We attend the morning service at church because we need to be home by nap time. That’s what I mean by…we “protect” naps. Unless we are on vacation or something majorly important comes up…nap time is happening.
Kids don’t typically ACT tired (like adults) even when they are exhausted. They tend to get more hyper and act like general lunatics. Then they will crash and fall asleep in random places as their body desperately tries to recover.
Without naps, I’m setting my children up for failure. They get overtired and then won’t go to sleep that night. Babies and children physically NEED more sleep to support their rapid brain and physical development.
A Note on Naps
These are the 3 most common questions I get about nap times.
- Question: Does your 5yo still nap? Answer: Occasionally. We spend nap-time working on homeschool, resting, coloring or he plays board games (read: lots of small pieces) his two younger brothers can’t handle yet.
- Question: Do they all nap at the same time? Answer: Typically. Unless, someone is being ornery, in a growth spurt or teething. About 80% of the time they sleep / rest simultaneously.
- Question: Do they sleep in the same room? Answer: At night time, yes! All three boys share a room. But for naps, I put the baby in a pack n’ play in the guest room. Nap time is too important and I don’t want them playing or talking.
If you’ve never had a set routine or daily schedule for your family, start slow! Find a dinner tradition or morning routine and WRITE IT DOWN. Get your kids involved and have THEM help you make a morning or bedtime checklist. Need ideas for younger kids? Here is a Morning Checklist routine for preschoolers.
Be consistent and don’t give up!
So – if you’d like a behind the scenes glimpse into my glamorous work-from-home life…here you go! I made a quick chart and the boxes aren’t perfect but it will suffice. It’s a lot of mundane cleaning, diapers and chaos. But it’s a good life and I’m happy!
And no joke, my Fitbit just told me “time to start getting ready for bed“.
The above schedule doesn’t include even a fraction of what my husband does when he gets home. He handles the kids, folds laundry and makes dinner frequently. His hyper-involvement in our home makes life easier to manage. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read my articles but I wanted to make sure he got credit. He’s my favorite person.