Sahm's of Toddlers - What's Your Daily Schedule Like?

Updated on November 21, 2010
K.B. asks from Phoenix, AZ
10 answers

Hi Mama's! I know this is a kind of weird question, but I am wondering what an average day for most SAHM's with toddlers looks like. I stay home with my 3yo son, b/g 20-mo twins & an 8-mo baby & I am feeling so guilty about the amount of TV they watch! I have a hard time taking them out daily because of conflicting nap times & it can also just be overwhelming trying to keep everyone under control. I do have a triple stroller & we do go do stuff about every other day - park, walks, mall play area, farmers market, library, music & movement, etc. We also play outside a lot, ride bicycles, etc. but the twins fight over everything & my 3yo has a hard time sharing & everyone starts throwing fits & I just turn on the TV so I won't lose my mind - but I'd rather not. So, much like some people rely on flylady to help get a cleaning schedule started I thought I'd ask you all what your day-to-day schedules are like. How do you fill the days?? My 3yo & I do crafts & bake & stuff like that when the babies nap because we just can't seem to pull it off as a group yet. I am really looking forward to getting a snapshot of other SAHM's daily routines, so TIA!

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I just wanted to thank you all for your answers & taking time out of your busy (!!!) Lives to help me out! You're all amazing!

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answers from Phoenix on

Sounds like you have a busy time with all the kiddos. Besides Sesame Street, they really shouldn't be watching t.v.. They won't learn how to share by watching t.v., only by doing, unfortunately. Try to spend time reading to them and doing outdoor activities. Maybe have "stations" and set a timer and when the timer goes off you switch to a different "station" with a different activity. One station could be an art easel outside, another one could be a bean bag toss, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, etc. That may help with the sharing problem. Enjoy them while they are little, it wont last!

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answers from Spokane on

WOW!! I'd be happy if I had everyone fed and happy at the end of the day with such young kids :) It really does sound like you're doing a great job already. Try not to feel guilty about a little tv.

Instead of turning on the tv, what about putting on some music and getting everyone to dance? It's a great energy burner (which means everyone sleeps better) and is lots of fun orr gather everyone for story time to mellow out - depending on what you think they need.

It's tough when the kids are into such different things and I'm sure that as yours get older you'll find LOADS of crowd pleasing activities. In the meantime, just keep a consistent meal and sleep schedule - that's most important right now.

Crafts are great for 3 year olds: play doh, stickers, coloring, cutting (with safe scissors) and pasting.

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answers from Chicago on

We lead an exciting life! haha... I have a 3 y/o and our day consists of playtime for about an hour after breakfast. In that hour we do things like, sing, puppets, puzzles, working on numbers & letters, playing baby's, coloring, working on sounds of letters, color sorting. Then snack time & we either run errands, take a trip to the mall, local zoo, library, kids play place. We come home for lunch & then have about a half hour of t.v. before nap time. She doesn't really nap anymore, but spends about an hour of down time in her room. I get household stuff done around that time. Then afternoon snack time, 1/2 hour t.v. then messy play time, art or crafts together for about an hour. Then I get dinner started & she helps me cook sometimes or plays quietly on her own. Dinner & after dinner playtime w/Daddy or every other night bath time. Then bedtime. That's our days, exciting eh?? ha ha My daughter takes 1 class a week in music, we go out usually 3 times a week and do fun stuff. If the weather is good, outside afternoon playtimes. Hope that helps!! I can't imagine coordinating activities with 3!!

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answers from Honolulu on

The kids/baby/twins... can at least nap at the same time in the afternoons....
baby will still be napping in mornings...
but the 3 year old and 20 month old... should still be napping.... after lunch... and the baby can too.
Try to do it that way.

I only have 2 kids... but when I had my 2nd child... my eldest child and then baby.. would nap at the same time, in the afternoon. AND then I got some quiet... at least. or even a nap.

But yes, with naps, the day revolves around that and because you have 3 kids.

Could you possibly have family/friend come over... and just help? Even if just for company for you... having another "adult" around... often helps... and helps Mom to stay sane.

ALSO... start incorporating the 3 year old and twins... INTO simple duties/chores around the house. Just simple stuff. The goal is not that they do it perfect... but "indoctrinating" them into... the 'role' of them doing chores too... and HELPING.... Mom/the family.
My kids... somehow feel "important" when I designate things for them to do around the house. Even if it is, chores. And they do it... because I make it like a "project" for them... 'framing' it/the project... as something "fun" .... not drudgery. If you start now.... then it will help in the long run... so that THEY TOO... help around the house... and it will be... a more everyday.... thing to do. Not pulling teeth about it.

Also... even if just playing with play-doh... make a 'routine' for them... say "In 10 minutes, its Play-Doh Time!!" and on a table, put it out... and then they can do that. And let them do that... until they lose interest. For example.
Or say "after breakfast is coloring time!" Make excitement in your voice... and then put out their coloring books and crayons... and let them go at it.
Or say... "after you put away.... (wink)... its baking time!" and just make dough for them... to play around with on the kitchen table.... not necessarily "cooking" but just pretend cooking....
Or "In 10 minutes its puzzle time!" And take out their chunky toddler puzzles.

The 20 month olds...can't DO crafts.... per say... but you CAN just let them glue stuff, or scribble on paper plates etc. It does not have to be literally.... doing crafts like in the instructions... just to keep them busy. And then they will also be inadvertently... working on fine-motor skills... for example.

I know... easier said than done.
But for your 3 year old... I think its also important for him... to HAVE time to himself... not having to share. I tell my eldest she does not have to share.. nor everything. It is HERS and if something is special she does not have to. Her "things" are not across the board... for "everyone." AND I let her 'choose' what to share... or not. A child... NEEDS to know that too... that THEY can or do not have to... share. Everything. It is their things.... I also tell my 4 year old that. They 'need' a sense of boundaries too... and having a say in, what they choose to share or not.

If your 3 year old is going nuts... with the younger ones.. let him, be by himself or in his room.... and have respite or do what he wants. My eldest, my daughter, does that with my 4 year old. She will tell him "I want to be by myself now..." and then she does, we respect that... and my 4 year old has also learned to SAY things too.... like that. Its okay. Sometimes kids just do not want to be all mingling... or in each others proximity...

Well, I don't know, I know its not easy... you have 4 differing aged children... I HOPE... your Husband.... babysits too??? And so that YOU can get time-off... and have your OWN time... by yourself... home or not... to do what you want.
That is really... needed.

all the best,

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi K.,

I'm guilty of the too much TV also, and I only have one toddler!
My son wakes up about 7 everyday. We play in his room for a bit before going to eat breakfast. We just have something simple, like yogurt, my son doesn't eat much. He usually watches a show or two while I get ready to start our day.
We try to stay very busy. I am apart of a moms club (I actually plan the calendar). We have playgroup twice a week in the morning. Other days of the week we meet a friend for breakfast, or run errands, library, mall, park, etc. I try to keep us busy in the morning and my son passes out in the car on the way home, then sleeps for about two hours in his bed. Once he wakes up, we eat a little lunch/snack, do crafts, sometimes go to the park, sometimes just hang around the house.
I like to do one fun thing with him a day. At the end of the day when we are winding down for bed, I ask him if he had a good day and we go over everything we did. If it seems boring to me, I try to make the next day a little better.
We're all trying to get by the best we can. You're doing an awesome job with four kids!! I try not to feel guilty and do what's best for our family. We are a TV family, there's no way around it, I just try to make sure what my son watches is appropriate (he only watches PBS). And also spend some time running outside, fresh air, and other educational activities. Hope that helps.

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answers from Fort Smith on

WOW, sounds like your doing a great job already. I don't have that many small children, but I have a son who is 6 and he is homeschooled, a 3yr and I babysit a 4yr old most days. I can say that I am also guilty having the t.v. on probably way to much. There are days that when the little girl I babysit gets here @ 6:30 I'll turn on the t.v. to keep her busy while I get my kids up, ready for the day and start breakfast. And some days the t.v. just stays on all day. They don't watch it all day, they'll watch for a while, play for a while and so on.
What I can tell you that I did to make sure to make the most of the day was before the school year started I sat down with a note book. I wrote down everything we HAD to do during the day, what I wanted to also do, and extra things we do during the week. Like Friday is craft day, Wednesday the girls and I go to the library for story time while my oldest son and husband do MANLY stuff. I also included time for cleaning, naptime, free time, bath time, outside play time, lunch time, excersize time ect. I started putting things in order with times and length of times and had it fit like a puzzle. It took a few times to get it just right, but I did it. I can't say that we ALWAYS follow it, but we try our best. I think that it might help you as well. Good luck.



answers from Cincinnati on

lol! I swore I wasn't going to let my young child watch TV...that lasted all of 5 mnths (when I discovered the calming effect of baby einstien...not its elmos world). I could imagine having that many young kids. I have just the one and as much as I love him he drives me nuts! our scheadule is pretty simple. we dont have a car (well I do but my hubby uses it to get to his 2 jobs) and now that its getting cold I dont really get to take him anywhere so we stay at home. he wakes up at 8 eats breakfast, we "rescue" his stuffed pooh bear from his room. we play intill about 10:00 (that is I sit on the floor and watch the news and he crawls all over me) I clean up the kitchen and work out while he plays in his room. then I take a shower and he usually ends up in there with me (only way I can get him from tearing down the shower curtain!) we get dressed and play together a little more then he watches elmos world while I check my email. then he might take a nap or he might wait intill after lunch. most of the afternoon we are in the living room (i read while he sits on my lap...or I sit on the floor and he practices walking to me, etc) at 5 he eats dinner, at 6:30 he has a bath, 6:45 is story and song time in his rocker, and 7 is bed time, he sleeps through the night till 8



answers from Tucson on

Ohhhhhh Girl you are doing wonderful!!!!!!! Shoot we love tv my kids have all their shows tivod!! tv is wonderful, I really cant take all the credit for my 3yr old knowing how spell words love math and see how other people live its great!!! NickJr. is wonderful!! We have a 3yr old and 11 month old so we do crafts like painting & coloring we read a lot!! Play outside at least twice we garden swim play with the dogs music ipod time we play dress up, board games paddle ball we bowl play hockey baseball/tball walk to park we go shopping evryday they help me cook the library is great the zoo muesums video games exercising and just laying on the floor and singing, talking and telling jokes its wonderful we are sooo busy but the tv is wonderful!! You are doing great mama!! xoxoxo



answers from Kansas City on

Wow, I will be no help to you with so many little ones! I only have one son that will be three next month. We don't exactly have a daily routine, more like a weekly one. He is almost always up by 7:00/7:10 in the morning and bedtime routine starts around 6:45 at night (bath or face/hand wash; put on jammies; snack while reading stories; brush teeth; in crib). He stopped napping a long time ago so I don't have to work around that, but we have quiet time three days a week (and at least one day on weekends). What happens in between good morning and good night varies by day:

Monday - play in the morning and try to eat breakfast (he's not a big eater, but of course I serve him something every morning, even if he rejects it) around 8:15. Take daddy to work (we share a car) at 8:45, then on to school from 9:15 - 2:30. After school we play somewhere that's NOT at home - zoo, children's museum, playdate, park, etc. - until it's time to pick daddy up at 4:30. He plays with daddy while I make dinner, we eat around 5:30, then more play time with all of us until bedtime routine.

Tuesday - no car this day so we do things that we can walk to in our neighborhood. Breakfast attempt again around 8:15. Walk to Gymboree at 8:45. Almost always play or attend an activity with his best friend after class (we have a second car seat in her car so we can go places together) until around noon. Come home, eat lunch, walk the dog, random play - trains, coloring, etc. Quiet time starts about 2:30 and I try to make it an hour, esp. if I have to work. After quiet time, we snack and play together, or maybe go out with his best friend again to a play group after her nap. Daddy comes home at 4:45 and makes dinner while I continue to play. After dinner, we all play together until bedtime.

Wednesday - same as Monday.

Thursday - play in the morning and try to eat breakfast around 8:30. Take daddy to work at 8:00. We have play group this day and it alternates weeks between mornings and afternoons. So if it's morning play, we go there until 11:30. If it's afternoon group, we play by ourselves or at a playgym in the AM, then go to group at 3:00. My best friend comes for lunch every thursday around noon. Quiet time starts around 2:00 either way. The dog gets walked on the alternating schedule - morning play group, afternoon walk; afternoon play group, morning walk. We pick daddy up at 4:30, he makes dinner while I continue to play. After dinner, we all play together until bedtime.

Friday - no car this day, so more walking. Breakfast attempt again around 8:15. Walk to a PDO down the street at 9:15 - he's there from 9:30-11:30 while I take a class in the same building. Almost always stay after PDO for lunch and playground time outside with his friends (and mine!). Walk back home around 1:00. Walk the dog. Random play together until quiet time at 2:30. Hope he's tired out from the week to actually be quiet this time! and for a long time! Daddy comes home at 4:45 and plays with him while I make dinner, eating as usual between 5:15 and 5:30. After dinner, we all play together until bedtime.



answers from San Antonio on

I was feeling like I was just floating through my day when I was at home with my toddler and I also felt guilty on how I'd let "just one more show" start and too many times. So in order for me to stick to my better parenting ideas more and help my toddlers cooperate with what I had planned (and not have a tantrum when I turned off the TV) I created a picture schedule that would, at the very least, show what we were doing for the morning, or for the afternoon. It worked SO WELL that I made a business out of it. If you are interested in checking it out my website is
Good luck

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