This is all about our routine with a toddler and a baby, and how I navigate meeting both of their needs on a daily basis, while still meeting my own.
Some days it is really hard, and feels like a complete disaster. But it somehow all ends up working out. After all, at the end of the day, we are all in our beds, safe and snug.
I’m not writing this so you can copy it minute-for-minute, or even see it as the best way for YOU to schedule your day with a baby and a toddler. I am simply writing this to show that indeed, it can be done, and hopefully give you some ideas of how you can do it, too.
Right now, I have a 4-month old (Zoey), and a 2-year old (Charlie, short for Charlotte). I’m going to explain how our daily routine goes as a stay-at-home mom.
Our schedule is constantly adapting as they grow. Currently, my 4-month-old is going through a bit of a sleep regression, which is very typical–many babies do this right around 4 months. This is because they are also going through developmental milestones like learning how to roll over.
Because she is going through this sleep regression, I’m having to spend a little more time nursing her and cuddling her in order to get her to sleep, and she wakes up more frequently at night than she did weeks before.
With that being said, keep this in mind that no two schedules will look the same, and your schedule will not likely be the same in a few months as it is now.
And that’s completely fine.
I feel like as moms, we experience a lot of pressure to stay consistent, stick to routines, and still get everything done every day. Nevermind that sometimes your kids get sick, sometimes we have appointments to go to, and sometimes priorities pop up. Oh and sometimes there’s a PANDEMIC.
The routine I’m sharing with you is what works for us currently, but is something that will adapt over time.
So let’s get into my stay-at-home mom routine with a toddler and a baby.
Daily Routine with Toddler and Baby (Stay at Home Mom Edition)
7:00 – 7:30 AM – Rise and Shine!
Usually my toddler wakes up first. Sometimes she plays quietly in her room, and other times she comes into the master bedroom and wakes us up.
If your toddler is rising too early, there are ways around this! One option which other moms swear by, but I have not yet tried, is to get a smart light which turns green at a set time, telling your toddler its OK to come out of the room.
Side note on sleep: I do not set an alarm clock, because I find it exhausting to wake up earlier than I have to. Sleep is a huge priority for me, so I do not skimp in this department. It’s just what works for me. If you find that you like waking up at a set time before your children, do it! For me, with having a 4-month old who is going through a sleep regression, I am finding I’m needing the extra sleep I can get in the morning.
Please have grace with yourself and listen to your body. If you’re feeling extremely tired during the day and that you are needing an IV drip of coffee through your veins, maybe try adding a little more sleep if possible.
7:30 AM – We get ready for the day
That usually consists of:
- A couple of diaper changes, and getting their clothes on for the day (no my 2-year-old is not yet completely potty-trained!)
- My toddler sitting on the potty for a minute, and…
- Me taking the shortest shower known to man (water on, soap on body, scrub, and rinse) while they both are in the bathroom with me.
8:00 AM – Breakfast and Cleaning
Once we are all ready, we head downstairs to the kitchen:
- My toddler plays in the kitchen with her toys while I cook breakfast.
- The baby plays on her tummy or in the bouncer in the kitchen.
- I also usually throw in a load of laundry at this point.
After breakfast, I clean up, unload the dishwasher, and then we all play for a bit on the floor and I drink my coffee.
9:30 – 10:00 AM – Naptime for Baby, Playtime for Toddler
I will nurse the baby and put her down for her first nap. Sometimes she sleeps in the Boba Wrap on me and sometimes she sleeps in her bassinet.
While she’s sleeping, I get a little one-on-one time with my toddler, and make sure she sits on the potty at least once during this time.
As you see in the next picture, I wear my baby a lot so I can still get things done without having to set her down. She sleeps so soundly in the wrap.
If you’re interested in baby-wearing, I have a whole post on it here.
11:30 AM – Lunchtime and Clean-up
When the baby wakes up, I:
- Change her diaper.
- Make lunch.
- Throw laundry in the dryer.
We usually have lunch around noon. My toddler sits in her high-chair, and the baby usually plays and sits in her bouncer while we eat.
1:00 PM – Naptime for Baby & Toddler
After lunch, we transition upstairs into my toddler’s room, where we turn on the fan and the white-noise machine (my toddler loves to be in charge of this), and I sit next to the bed and read a book or two to both girls.
My toddler has been resisting nap-time, so sometimes she doesn’t fall asleep, and just plays in her room, but we do make an attempt every single day to put her in her room for some “quiet time” and keep this part in her routine. If your toddler is starting to drop their nap and you don’t know what to do, you can read more about it here.
1:15 PM – Baby Naptime
With my toddler in bed (or playing in her room) at this point, I nurse the baby and put her down for her second nap.
This is the time I (crossing my fingers) try to get some work done for at least 1.5-2 hours. Sometimes I have to nurse the baby back to sleep, and sometimes my toddler fights being in her room. So it’s not every day that I have this time to myself!
3:30 PM – Afternoon Playtime, Snack, and Chores
When my toddler wakes up:
- She sits on the potty, gets a fresh pull-up or diaper, and gets a snack.
- We try to get outside, weather permitting.
- We also try to get a couple of chores done, like cleaning up the kitchen, and folding laundry together (we make putting away laundry a fun game for my toddler).
5:00 PM – Dinner Prep, and Dinner
- I start to make dinner so we can eat by 5:30 P.M.
- This is usually playtime for my toddler.
- If the baby is fussy, I’ll carry her in the wrap so I can keep making dinner.
6:30 PM – Baby Bedtime Routine
This is the most difficult part of the day! This is when my 4-month old gets very sleepy and fussy and ready to nurse and go to bed. (Remember, the sleep regression?) Usually, I don’t even clean up the kitchen after dinner at this point.
We all head upstairs to start the baby’s bedtime routine.
- Change her diaper.
- Get her into pj’s.
- She usually requires 30 minutes of nursing before bed and is asleep at the latest by 7:30pm.
If I can get my toddler to entertain herself quietly for about 30 minutes while I’m nursing, then this will go smoothly.
Sometimes I enlist the help of her favorite TV show while I nurse the baby to sleep.
Also, we do not do bath time at night for the baby, since this period of time just doesn’t work for us between having to eat dinner and having the baby demand bedtime at 6:30 on the dot. We also don’t do baths every day since that dries out their skin. (Excluding dad, we all have fragile, delicate skin that dries out easily.)
7:30 PM – Toddler Bedtime Routine
Once the baby is asleep, I can transition into doing the toddler bedtime routine.
- Brush teeth.
- Get her into pj’s.
- Read a few books.
- Then she’s off to bed!
After that, I like to go back into the kitchen and clean up a little before bedtime. Sometimes I skip this step entirely, and just clean up when we all wake up in the morning. Then I do a little more work on my computer before bed.
Well, that’s the end of my routine with a toddler and a baby.
How do you manage your routine with little kids?