3 Example Schedules for a Toddler (for Stay at Home Moms)

toddler schedule for stay at home moms

Creating a toddler schedule provides routine and structure for both mom and child. It’s always good to remember that flexibility is vital since your toddler’s moods and needs can vary daily.

When I had my first son, it took some time, but we eventually fell into a rhythm that helped us both know what to expect. 

He was only 21 months old when my second was born, so having two under two provided challenges. But I learned to tweak my schedule to determine what worked best for everyone.

That’s not to say everything was perfect. When my oldest was 3.5 years old, I had a new baby, making three kids under four. Life was anything but easy; however, I learned to focus on what balance worked best for us.

I’m here to help you find balance and structure with 3 sample toddler schedules perfect for stay-at-home moms. 


What Your Schedule Should (Most Likely) Contain

Always remember that every child is different, and you’ll likely need to make adjustments tailored to your toddler’s unique needs and preferences. In addition, as a stay-at-home, it’s essential to make time for self-care and personal activities. 

Getting a neighborhood high school student to help in the afternoon is an excellent opportunity to take time for yourself. This includes walking, working out, or making a solo grocery trip.

Key elements to consider when creating your schedule:

  • Naps
  • Diaper changes
  • Meals
  • Playtime
  • Quiet time and independent play
  • Outside time
  • Outings (ie: library)
  • Activities
  • Household chores
  • Playdates
  • Bath time

I’m sure you find this list as exhausting as I found writing it. Being a stay-at-home isn’t easy, and it’s not sitting around playing all day. (Although, some people think that’s all we do.)

However, understanding the important aspects of the day can help make things run smoother for you and your toddler. 


3 Examples of Toddler Schedules for Stay-at-Home Moms

Letting your toddler help with household chores like dishes, laundry, and cleaning up is a great idea. While they may not do it perfectly, you instill important values that will be useful as they age! 

Toddler schedules have many overlapping features, making adjusting to your needs and preferences easy. For example, most toddlers still nap, but I’m providing sample schedules for toddlers with one, two, or no naps.

Here are three examples of toddler schedules to help you get through the day.

1. One Nap a Day  

Most toddlers take one nap daily and likely have recently transitioned from two naps. The transition can be tricky to navigate, so it’s important to take your child’s lead and make adjustments as necessary.

7:00 AM – Wake Up

Most toddlers are up by 7:00 AM if you’re lucky, but it’s also a great wake-up time to ensure they nap and go to bed on time at night.

You might also want to wake up earlier than your toddler for some alone time. Sometimes, I only need 15 minutes to get some coffee without interruptions.

7:30 AM – Eat Breakfast 

My kids vary when they are ready to get breakfast, with my boys hungry from the moment they open their eyes to my daughter, who leisurely enjoys her morning before she asks for breakfast. However, having a specific time for breakfast is valuable so it doesn’t accidentally get forgotten.

Remember, you need to eat, too!

8:00 AM – Free Play 

Once your toddler has a full belly, it’s a good time for free play, which also gives you a chance to clean up and prepare for the day. If your child plays well independently, you can also use this time to finish other chores like laundry, dishes, and sweeping.

9:00 AM – Outdoor Play/Play Date 

If the weather is nice, the morning is always a great time to get outside to play and get some extra energy out. I always had trouble with mornings because I felt like my kids got bored quickly, but it’s incredible what a change of atmosphere can do.

It’s also a great time to visit the playground and meet other moms. If you have a great mom squad, the morning is a fantastic playdate time because it exhausts everyone for nap time.

10:00 AM – Snack

Toddlers are still at the age where they benefit from a morning snack. Although, most parents know kids will accept a snack any time of the day. However, having a designated snack time helps keep the routine.

My favorite toddler snack: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Balls 

10:30 AM – Activity or Craft 

My kids are always eager for a fun craft project, so it’s a great activity when you have in-between time. I recommend visiting the dollar store to load up on supplies to prevent spending too much money.

My favorite craft kit for toddlers: Art Craft Supplies for Kids 

12:00 PM – Lunch 

While your little one finishes their art project, you can start prepping lunch and the clean-up process. This is another reminder that you need to eat, too. I try to eat meals simultaneously with my kids, but you can always do it during naptime.

You can help your child clean up after lunch and offer some playtime before heading to nap.

1:00 PM – Nap

The golden time of the day! Your toddler is more than ready for a nap now, so you can start calming the mood by closing the blinds and picking books to read. Since nap time isn’t as long as bedtime, it’s a good idea to only read a few books before tucking them in.

If your child is on the verge of ditching naps, I highly recommend the LittleHippo Mella: Ready to Rise Children’s Sleep Trainer. You can program it to turn green when your child can get out of bed. It’s a great way to deter them from getting out of bed too early.

3:00 PM – Afternoon Snack

Once your child wakes up, you can offer an afternoon snack to hold them over until dinner. It’s also a good time for cuddling and reading a book while they wake up.

3:30 PM – Playtime or Playdate 

The afternoons always seem the hardest because you have the time between nap and dinner and bed. While the afternoon isn’t always the easiest for playdates, it’s an excellent time for your child to get out and play.

5:00 PM – Make Dinner/Independent Play

You’ll want to start making dinner and encouraging your toddler to play alone or with siblings. You can also ask them to set up the table, which is a great way for little ones to feel included.

6:00 PM – Dinner

Enjoy a nice dinner with your family! You may feel defeated, but you’ve made it this far and are doing fantastic. Take a moment to look around and admire what a tremendous job you’re doing. I know it’s easier said than done, but after having three kids, I’m guilty of not giving myself enough praise and grace.

6:45 PM – Clean Up/Dishes 

I highly recommend having your kids help clean up after dinner time. It will be challenging, but you teach them essential life skills. At the very least, kids can start learning to bring their plates to the sink and ensure they don’t leave anything behind.

7:00 PM – Family Time 

It’s easy to forget about quality time after a long day, but if your partner or spouse has been gone all day, there’s a good chance they want to spend time with you and the kids.

My crew loved playing charades after dinner, and it was a fantastic way to spend time together without creating a mess because the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day was clean another mess.

7:45 PM – Start Bedtime Routine

You’ll want to start bath time and get your child’s room ready for bed at this point in the evening. You can start reading books together once they are clean and in their pajamas. I have found that a solid bedtime routine helps make the night go smoother.

8:30 PM – Bedtime 

I always found it helpful to have an exact time when I should turn off the lights. Your toddler doesn’t need to know the exact time because it won’t mean much to them, but letting things linger doesn’t benefit your routine.

2. Two Naps a Day 

If your child still takes two naps, you’ll follow much of the advice above but with various tweaks to your schedule. Remember, you don’t have to follow the schedule exactly; it’s more of a helpful guideline.

For example, if your child wakes up early, you’ll likely move each schedule up a little. In addition, your family may choose to eat dinner earlier, which bumps bedtime a bit.

7:00 AM – Wake Up 

7:30 AM – Breakfast 

8:00 AM – 9:30 AM – Playtime/Outing 

Sometimes, the mornings drag on, so it’s an excellent opportunity to get outside or go to a local playground.

9:30 AM – 11:00 AM – Nap 

If your toddler takes longer to fall asleep for the morning nap, start pushing it back, switching to one nap.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Craft

The middle of the day is a great time for craft projects or visiting the local library. Many libraries have children’s programs, including storytime and music classes.

12:00 PM – Lunch 

12:30 – 2:00 – Playtime/Playdate 

After lunch is a fantastic time to get extra energy before your toddler’s afternoon nap. You can plan a playdate with friends, play outside, or play a game at home.

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM – Nap 

If your toddler constantly has difficulty falling asleep for their afternoon nap, it’s a good time to consider dropping it. You can also turn this time into a quiet/rest time where your child doesn’t have to sleep, but they have to do a quiet activity in their room.

3:30 PM – Afternoon Snack 

It’s best not to miss the afternoon snack; otherwise, your toddler will have difficulty making it until dinnertime. I always strive to include protein to keep them full longer. Some afternoon snack suggestions include:

  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Cheese stick and apple
  • Fruit or veggie muffin
  • Avocado toast

5:00 PM – Prep Dinner

6:00 PM – Dinner 

6:45 PM – Clean Up 

Remember to let your toddler help clean up, even if it creates an extra mess. It’s a great opportunity for them to feel responsible and take pride in their work.

7:00 PM – Family Time 

7:45 PM – Bedtime Routine

8:30 PM – Bedtime 

3. No Nap

While most children drop their nap between 3 and 5 years old, some lose it sooner. For example, my third was only 2.5 when she stopped napping. That’s not to say she wouldn’t occasionally fall asleep in the car, but she would not fall asleep when I put her down.

She was much more interested in what her brothers were doing than taking a nap. However, it’s still important to allow for quiet time to take a break from the busyness of the day.

If your child isn’t taking a nap, they likely will need to go to bed earlier and eat dinner sooner.

7:00 AM – Wake Up 

7:30 AM – Breakfast

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM – Playtime/Playdate 

I found most moms are available in the morning for playdates, so I took advantage. Unfortunately, most places like indoor gyms or libraries don’t open until later in the morning.

10:00 AM – Snack

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM – Outing (i.e., library or playground)

After snack is a great time to check out all the places you couldn’t first thing in the morning. I love taking my kids to the local library because they can pick out new books, do puzzles, and check out the latest programs.

If you are still trying to find your mom tribe, the library is a great place to meet other stay-at-home moms.

When the weather is nice, the playground is always a hit with kids and provides free entertainment until lunch.

12:00 PM – Lunch 

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Quiet Time 

3:30 PM – Snack 

4:30 PM – Start Prepping Dinner

5:30 PM – Dinner

6:45 PM – Start Bedtime Routine

If your toddler doesn’t nap, you’ll notice they need to go to bed earlier. Otherwise, they’ll become overly tired. If you’ve recently switched to no naps, there will be a transition period, which isn’t always the easiest to handle.

7:30 PM – Bedtime 


When Schedules Are Effective for Toddlers

I saw success with schedules when I planned ahead because I knew what to expect during the day. I also noticed a difference in my child’s behavior because they knew what to expect.

The following are benefits you’ll find when your schedule proves effective:

  • Predictability and routine
  • Develops good habits
  • Emotional security
  • Provides smooth transitions
  • Structured learning activities
  • Behavioral expectations

While schedules prove effective, allowing for unstructured playtime and exploration is also beneficial. Schedules are key for routine, but toddlers also benefit from the opportunity to engage in free play and explore the world around them at their own pace.


When They’re Not

Remember, your days will vary, and it’s important to go easy on you and your toddler if your schedule falls apart. There are unique circumstances where strictly adhering to your schedule proves ineffective.

My kids always had rougher days when they slept poorly, woke up early, or missed their nap. We also know we shouldn’t put too much pressure on the daily schedule when our kids are sick.

Common reasons why you’ll find a break in the schedule include:

  • Travel or family events
  • Teething or illness
  • Unforeseen circumstances or emergencies
  • Over-scheduling
  • Developmental changes

Adapting and responding to your toddler’s changing needs is important in these cases. While schedules provide an excellent framework, it’s also important to be open to necessary modifications.


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