A Glimpse of Our Everyday Schedule : Creating A Daily Routine For My Children

i have been asked a couple times if i would share our daily routine and, having worked so hard on creating a daily routine for my children and perfecting the exact timing of wakeups, naps, and play…i am really proud of our everyday schedule.  to be honest, it’s our secret to harmony.  with two babies, two years old and under, having a routine is not only great for my children…but it is really great for me too.  i love knowing what to expect at any given time of the day and, because of our routine, we rarely have behavior issues.  why do i bring up behavior?  because behavior issues tend to arise when children are overwhelmed, overtired, or don’t know what to expect.  our concrete daily routine allows all of us to know exactly what will happen each day, and the order in which it happens.  seriously, we do the same schedule each and every day, weekday or weekend.  and having a routine allows me to allocate time to myself, each and every day.

creating a daily routine for my children started with my oldest, who is currently 2 years old.  i created her daily routine when she was 4.5 months old and we follow the same routine today.  (since then we have dropped one nap and pushed bedtime back 30 additional minutes, as she has grown older).  her little sister started the same routine at 4 months old, when she started sleeping through the night.  it’s important to note, neither of my children had a strict routine before 4 months of age because i breastfed on demand and let them determine their own schedule in the early days.

once our second little girl arrived, my main goal in maintaining a daily routine for my children was having them nap at the same time.  EVERY SINGLE DAY.  for a mama, this is gold.  having your children nap at the same time allows you to intentionally make time for yourself every single day.  whether you are sitting on the couch staring into space, catching up on email, or enjoying lunch in peace…it is important to have a little break built into your day.  at least, it is really important for me anyways.  i believe mamas should be intentional about taking care of themselves too.  investing time in myself makes me an even better mama because i take the time to feel refreshed and inspired.

having them nap at the same time of day goes hand in hand with having them adopt the exact same sleep schedule, day and night.  they wake up at the same time every day, they nap at the same time every day, and they go to bed within 30 minutes of one another each night.  i center our whole daily routine around sleep.  sleep is so so important for children and i don’t mess around with it.  i make sure they nap and get good rest during the day and during the night and, because of that, both of my girls are amazing sleepers.  sleep is one of the many things my husband worked really hard on teaching our girls and it has paid off.

A Glimpse of Our Everyday Schedule : Creating A Daily Routine For My Children

A Glimpse of Our Everyday Schedule : Creating A Daily Routine For My Children | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

because my 2 year old has such an awesome routine, i worked towards transitioning my youngest into that same routine when she was 4 months old and we had a concrete routine within a week.  this meant waking my littlest in the morning when my oldest woke up so that they could get on the same wake and sleep schedule.  pairing their awake times means that they nap at the same time and achieving this literally makes me feel like a rockstar.  for the sake of transparency, here is our exact daily schedule…yes, to the minute.  that’s how we role.

Our Daily Schedule

5:00am … I wake up / dedicated time to myself

7:15am … baby wakes up, breastfeed #1

7:30am … toddler wakes up

7:45am … mama shower / girls watch sing along or ABC show in my bedroom / toddler has morning milk

(this is our only screen time.  i unapologetically make time to shower every single day, thank you very much.)

8:15am … free play in playroom (see our playroom mama and me space here)

9:15am … baby breastfeed #2

9:30am … baby down for 1st nap

9:30am … mama and toddler breakfast

10:00am … mama and toddler special time together / curriculum

11:15am … wake baby, breastfeed #3, toddler milk

11:30am … free play in playroom

12:30pm … lunch for both babies

1:15pm … baby breastfeed #4

1:30pm … both babies nap / mama free time

4:00pm … wake both babies, breastfeed #5, toddler milk

4:15pm … free play in playroom / outside

5:15pm … outside waiting for daddy to come home

6:00pm … dinner as a family

6:30pm … baby pajamas, breastfeed #6, stories, prayers, in bed by 7:00pm

7:00pm … toddler pajamas, milk, brush teeth, stories, prayers, in bed by 7:30pm

7:30pm … quality mama and daddy time EVERY SINGLE DAY

A Glimpse of Our Everyday Schedule : Creating A Daily Routine For My Children | Bethadilly Photography | www.bethadilly.com

having gone to school for elementary education, i learned first hand how children thrive on routine.  routines make them feel comfortable and secure.  and this is definitely true for our children.  strict routine is something that works extremely well for our family and my husband adopts the same exact routine, should i be away for a day during the weekend at a photography session.

yes, traveling and hosting guests can bring a little shift to our routine.  yes, sometimes the kids wake a little early from nap and my mama plans are put on hold.  yes, special weekend outings can mean the littlest naps in the car.  (for us, napping in the car is only allowed about once a week, we are very intentional about crib napping).  while there are always exceptions, our routine is concrete 98% of the time.  of course, swim lessons and library outings shift our schedule slightly but they do not shift our nap ever.  never ever.

for those wondering about playdates, we schedule them in the mornings only.  luckily, all of our friends have morning nap time routines as well so mornings are universally great for everyone’s schedules.  our afternoons are truly reserved for nap time.  i once read that kids who get good sleep during the day will get good sleep at night…good sleep compounds on good sleep.  and that is very true for my girls.

all of this being said, this is what works for us.  the best parenting advice we received before babies was given to us by our birthing teacher before our first was born when she said, “YOU will be the expert on your children.  YOU will be the one who knows them best.”  it is something my husband and i often remind ourselves.  we know our children best and we know what works for them and us.  just like you are the expert on your child and will know what works best for them!  just because this schedule works really well for us, might not mean it works for you and your little ones.

as parents, having our children on a great routine also allows us to dedicate time to one another, as husband and wife.  every evening, it’s all about us.  my husband and i are attached at the hip so we basically do everything together and once the babies are asleep, it’s our time to catch up with each other.  we don’t do laundry or clean.  we sit down together and just enjoy our time.  it usually includes watching a million videos of the girls on our phones together and recounting every cute thing they’ve done, but that’s our beautiful phase in life.

in all honesty, creating a daily routine for my children has been the best thing i have done for our everyday.  it truly brings harmony to our everyday and my oldest happily walks up the stairs saying, “take nap!” every afternoon or “playroom!” when it’s time to play because it’s the schedule she knows and appreciates.

i hope this helps!

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  • Felicity - Love that you’ve found a schedule that works. I agree that in this season of life, a routine makes everything easier. What I don’t see is, where is all the stuff that makes a household chug along. When do you grocery shop, run errands or do chores? ReplyCancel

    • {beth} a-dilly - Chores are done throughout the day, for examples…dishwasher unloaded while girls each lunch, i throw in one load of laundry each morning and fold it during playroom time, errands and groceries are done on the weekend. 🙂 i believe in using the power of 5 minutes all day long to tackle little chores, here and there, which makes it each to keep everything up! hope this helps!ReplyCancel