Creating a family schedule

I have the current good fortune to work part-time from home so that I can be the primary caretaker to our two young children. While there is no greater joy for me than being with my babies, taking care of young children all day long while trying to get any other work done is EXHAUSTING. 

Battle worn and over-caffeinated, I would often pose the question to other moms who I believed had some secret to surviving. Clearly, they must right? They had their children dressed, out the door by 9:00 am, and in bed by 7:00 pm every day. I was lucky to be out of my pajamas and the house before noon.

The secret, I was told, is to have a schedule and clear routines so that everyone knows what happens next. Sounds easy enough, but for someone who grew up winging it from day to day, I found myself rebelling against the idea of creating a "schedule." "That's no fun!" I thought. "Having a set schedule sounds too rigid and boring." 

So I continued winging it until I realized that I was quickly overwhelmed. Everything - work, kids, and household responsibilities - screamed for my attention all at once. I would often find myself feeling flustered and ineffective. Because I didn’t set aside time every day to work, I ran into the problem of pulling all-nighters in order to meet deadlines. In turn, I became a grumpy, impatient version of myself, and was not the parent that I wanted to be.

So, I decided to give this idea of having a daily schedule another look.


I figured there must be an ideal schedule on the internet that we could just copy. However, after spending way too much time on Google, it was apparent that there was no "perfect" schedule that would solve all of my problems. Every family is different, and I needed to create our own schedule to fit our needs. 

To start, I found this fantastic Daily Schedule {via Confessions of a Homeschooler} on Pinterest and decided to use it as my outline. It has the basic elements of everything that seemed ideal for our purposes. Next, I removed the daily curriculum and changed the flow of events to mirror the times and routines for lunch, physical activity, and naps set by a local Montessori preschool that we are interested in. For extra credit, I also created a morning and evening routine chart to help our toddler learn the basics of taking care of himself and his belongings on his own.

In the end, there is a lot of flexibility built into our schedule. Our son is still quite young and he has many years of formal education in the future. So, while I plan to introduce him to more of a structured play environment and various Montessori style activities, I don't expect that we will be focused on doing a set curriculum during the week (e.g., language activities on Mondays, math on Tuesdays, and so forth and so on). Rather, we use that time for activities or to attend play dates, etc. We also included limited screen time into the schedule, but only as a means to restrict when he is allowed to watch his favorite shows.


I originally thought that having a schedule would be stifling and boring. But, it is actually quite freeing. We are still open to changing things up for special circumstances, but it is nice to have a regular schedule to come back to that is comfortable and gets everyone on the same page again. Having a schedule and routines give me a feeling of being more in control of the day – as much as is humanly possible with two babies – instead of having the day control me.

So, what about your family? What kinds of routines and schedules do you have in place? Do you feel that you are able to maintain a schedule in your family or is it easier for you to play everything by ear? We want to hear – let us know!


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