I have often been asked what my day is typically like at home. Over the last three years I have been a full time working mom, a part-time working mom, a stay-at-home mom, and now a work-at-home mom. In addition to the consulting, public speaking, workshops, and teaching I do, many people don’t know that I also have a part time job writing clinical notes for a treatment center. Luckily, I was able to find a dream job that allows me to work from home and also earn a part-time income. I am able to write my notes throughout my day and also stay home and raise my children. I love being a hands on mom and able to be at home with my children for the first few years of their life. I am sure when they both reach elementary school I will go back to work outside the home, but for now I am quite happy with the job I have and feel very fortunate to have it!
I am a pretty structured person and like to have order to the things I do. I am not good at being spontaneous or winging it most of the time. I like routine. And most children do, too. In fact, the majority of children thrive on structure, routines, and rules. When children are prepared and know what to expect ahead of time, their behavior is often more positive. Transitions are easier and power struggles are minimized. This is especially true for toddlers, children on the autism spectrum, and children diagnosed with an attention deficit disorder. When you are at home all day, it is easy to just let the day go by and not get much done when there is no plan. On the other hand, I leave room for some flexibility since some days we have various commitments like dance class, various events, church group, play dates, etc. Everyday isn’t the same and some days we steer off course. Trust me, there are some days nothing gets done and we end up staying in bed all day with our pajamas on while the dishes stay dirty in the sink, the laundry stayed piled up, and we order take out. But for the most part, we have a general routine we try to stick to each day we are home and find balance in work and play. I have noticed if we don’t have a plan, we often get pretty stir crazy and are more tired and frustrated as the day goes on.
I often suggest to the parents I work with to start their children on a routine as early as infancy, especially when it comes to naptime and bedtime. During these times, I often stress the importance of consistency to a baby’s routine. For example, I recommend the baby should go to bed each day/night at the same time, in the same spot, and on the same routine (i.e.: bath, story, feeding, song, bed). As children grow older and have more cognitive abilities, I suggest implementing even more structure to their daily routines. My daughter is now old enough to have a more structured environment and can follow simple instructions by identifying pictures and words when following directions. We recently created a morning schedule and a bedtime schedule together. Keep in mind that children are more invested when they get to help create their schedule! When she follows these routines she earns immediate verbal praise and also stickers on her sticker chart. When she fills up the chart, she receives some sort of prize. The prize doesn’t have to cost money, it just has to be something she wants to earn. Sometimes it is a trip to the mall to ride the train or playing mini golf. As you have seen on social media most recently, she earned a trip to “open” The Disney Store.
If you would like for me to customize your own routine chart, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can customize the pictures for a specific gender, age, and items you want listed and in what order you want them listed. Once I have the details, I will email them to you. For an additional cost I can laminate them and mail them to you.
In the meantime, this is a rough estimate of what a typical day looks like for us at home!
7:00am – Baby Wakes Up & Morning Work (Once I have some dedicated time interacting with and feeding the baby I get my laptop out and I write some notes, check email, and do any other work I need to get done.)
9:00am – Toddler Wakes Up & Morning Routine (Yes, you saw that right. I am very lucky that my toddler loves to sleep in. Once we are all awake, I have a rule that no matter what, we brush our teeth, rinse off, and change into new clothes as soon as we wake up to feel refreshed to begin the day.)
10:00am – Breakfast & Dance Party (We typically listen to Disney songs on Pandora, which keeps the children busy while I cook breakfast. Then we will eat together at the table or if the weather is nice we go outside on the patio.)
11:00am – Play Time (This time is designated for playing at the park, in the backyard, or at a friend’s house but the point is to get out of the house. I have noticed that if we don’t get out of the house sometime during the morning hours, we don’t leave the house all day and end up feeling lethargic and irritable.)
12:00pm – Craft, Art, & Learning Time (We typically practice letters, numbers, site words, do educational worksheets, and a craft. It is very important to plan these daily activities at the beginning of the week so you have everything ready and have the supplies handy. We also love to paint! I notice that if I try to plan this part of the day in the moment it won’t happen. You can follow me on Pinterest for all of my craft ideas!)
1:00pm – Lunch & TV (Yes, we take a break during lunch to watch Daniel Tiger, Peppa Pig, or Mickey Mouse. If we aren’t watching television during lunch it is because we are having a picnic outside!)
2:00pm – Quiet Time & Reading (We will typically read for 20 minutes and then spend the rest of the time napping or playing quietly. Sometimes I will sleep if they sleep and or do some work.)
3:00pm – Tummy Time & Music (We do tummy time in different places in the house for variety and then do some sort of music, whether it’s listening to music, making music, or singing)
4:00pm – Exercise (We typically take a walk in the neighborhood, workout in the garage, or do yoga)
5:00pm – Cook & Dishes (Unless I make a slow cooker meal earlier in the day, this is the time I spend in the kitchen. I meal plan at the beginning of the week so I know exactly what we are having each night as well as have all the ingredients handy from my weekly online shopping trip. Sometimes my toddler will color during this time, help me cook, or will do activities on her iPad. Once dinner is cooking, I put clean dishes away and load the dishwasher with dirty dishes.)
6:00pm – Dinner (We eat as a family at the dining room table. No phones. No television. Just us and our conversation. My daughter asks my husband every night how his day was at work and then asks both of us what our favorite animal and color is)
7:00pm – Free Time (This is typically the time where my husband will watch television and play with our toddler while I put the baby to sleep OR if the baby is already asleep then this is the time I play with my daughter in her room.)
8:00pm – Children Bedtime (We will typically start the bedtime routine around 7:30pm so we are in bed by 8:00pm. We brush teeth, take a bath, get pajamas on, read a story, say a prayer, and get into bed. Depending on the night, this is the time I will work some more on the computer.
9:00pm – This is when I go to bed! (Or should I say sleep for a few hours before getting up 2-3 more times throughout the night to nurse the baby!)
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes we do things out of order based on our mood, circumstance, or other planned activities, but we typically still accomplish all of the things on this schedule as often as we can!