Routines, Not Schedules


calendar with sticky tabs. routine for kids. Des Moines Mom

We made it through the end of the school year (whew!). A month in and the realization of keeping three different aged children entertained all day, every day set in.

As a stay at home mom to young children, our house runs on routines.

Keeping some of our daily routines consistent helps us all. Kids crave consistency. It gives them some control and predictability throughout their day.

But as much as I love routines, I have a hard time making schedules for the week.

Routines like meals, naps, and bedtime do not change much from day to day, and we work around them when we plan our day. While I find it important to stick to these routines, I also think it’s important to stay flexible in our daily plans. Between weather changes, errands, cranky toddlers, sick kids, or even a tired, cranky mom, I find it best to take it one day at a time.

Staying home vs. Going out

Some days I recognize my children just need to be at home in their environment. If the kids are playing well together, I stay hands off and let them play and create. When needed, I provide guidance on activities or sit and play with them. Something as simple as giving them a spray bottle of water and drawing chalk on the driveway for them to wash off can redirect them and get them playing together again. And let’s be honest, some days I just need to let them watch a movie while I take a break or get other things done around the house.

Other days when everyone seems to go stir crazy, I love to get out and go on an adventure. Sometimes we will spend hours at a splash park or the library because everyone is happy and getting along. Other times the plans are cut short by grumpy kids or injuries or weather. I don’t find myself getting frustrated when outings are cut short because I don’t have any set schedule or expectations.

Follow your child’s lead

Just like adults, kids have good days and bad days. I know some days there just has to be a set schedule between appointments and organized activities. Day to day, though, I like to follow the lead of the kids and plan accordingly.

Hot day? Splash park or water play in the backyard.

Kids didn’t sleep well? Snuggle up at home, read books, and follow their lead on activities.

As a mom, you never know what will be thrown at you from day to day. Follow routines, but remember to take the good moments with the bad and try to follow your child’s lead when you can.

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Betsy is a stay at home mom to two handsome, energetic boys and a sweet baby girl. Most days are spent chasing after little boys, reading books, and playing superheroes, but she loves spending any extra time she can painting, cooking, writing, listening to music or audiobooks, or being outside. After years of infertility and now as a mom through both adoption and IVF, Betsy loves connecting with, supporting, and advocating for those on their own personal journey with infertility or adoption. Follow her family’s story and connect with her on Instagram @betsydearnoone.


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