One of the things I struggled with the most after getting married was how to create a daily routine. In fact, I don’t think I truly started getting a grasp of it until after my oldest daughter was born.
After that, it became oh so clear that I was going to need to get with the program and start establishing a routine.
Sure, with a newborn, there’s really no routine for the first few weeks (or months), but as they grow they demand a schedule.
You start implementing naptimes and bedtimes, and the older they get, the more tasks start filling your day.
Maybe you already have kids who are in school or old enough to tie their own shoes, but you still struggle with establishing a daily routine.
Maybe your days are filled with chasing babies and toddlers, and naptime rules your day.
Whatever your situation, this post is for you, mama. For you who have older kids, and you who have babies. We all need to learn how to create a daily routine, and we need to figure out how to create one that we (and our kids) will love.
It’s time to take control of your day.
Personally, when I’m overwhelmed by my to-do list, I tend to feel paralyzed and won’t do anything. It makes me want to literally go climb into my bed and hide under the covers (which is frowned upon when you have little ones to take care of).
If there’s no clear starting point, I give up before I begin.
I’ve even had to enlist my husband just to get me started.
But I’ve found that when I take control of my day and create a daily routine that works for me, I can conquer the world (or at least, I feel like I can!).
Your daily routine won’t be the exact same every day because life happens and things come up. Think of this as a way to create a daily routine template to help you stay on top of your day and live each day a little more intentionally.
How to Create a Daily Routine
List your every day activities
List everything. I’m talking breakfast, lunch, dinner, bathtime, bedtime routine, naptime, snack time, dinner prep, exercise, laundry, dishes, cleaning, work, and anything else you do on the daily.
You can group activities that are always done together, such as “get ready,” instead of listing “brush teeth, fix hair, apply makeup, etc.”
Draft these onto a piece of paper.
I’m so guilty of forgetting the most obvious things when I’m working on creating a daily routine, so it helps me to see the things I do every single day, as well as seeing how much time I have available around those tasks.
Chances are, you probably do a lot of the same things at regular times already. Go you!
You won’t need to write these into your daily routine every day, but it helps to see the structure that you’ve already built.
Write in “Special Days”
Write down your consistent weekly appointments, such as classes, gym time, library time, church, bible study, work out days, and grocery shopping. Include anything you and your littles do just about every week.
Then, write down any special appointments or dates that you know are coming up, such as dentist and doctor appointments, play dates, park days, husband works late, husband gets home early, dinner out, and additional errands.
Add these appointments and dates to your calendar. (My favorite calendar is my Erin Condren planner!)
Again, this allows you to see how much time you have around the things you do consistently and will make it easier to plan the “special” items in your schedule.
Start working to create a daily routine
You’ll have days that you’ll be super busy, and days that nothing is really happening, and that’s all okay.
I want you to start thinking about what you want your days to look like.
What would make you feel productive, fulfilled, and satisfied?
What would help you feel more in control of your day?
Start figuring out how to implement those items into your day. Then you’ll be on your way to creating a daily routine that you’ll love.
Take advantage of your mornings
Start your day strong and knock off some of the biggest items on your to-do list early in your day. The rest of your day will be easy from there! Use mornings to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.
It’s important to remember to include self-care when you create a daily routine.
By waking a little earlier than usual, you should be able to fit in a little bit of quiet “me” time in the mornings. That quiet time can really set you up to have a happier, more productive, and more fulfilling day.
2 – Write down your thoughts, worries, appointments, and to-dos.
3 – Either identify your priorities so you’re prepped and ready to go in the morning, or allow yourself time in the morning to tackle that task.
Either way, prioritize your thoughts, and then utilize your list.
Let your kids help you figure out your schedule
But Lace, mytwo-year-old isn’t going to have a clue what I’m talking about when I ask her how to arrange our schedule…
That’s okay! Kids communicate beyond using words, so listen to them!
Do they like being outside in the mornings or afternoons? Does the day go a little smoother with a little bit of tv time at some point? What is their best time for napping?
Listen to them and their personalities! They’ll help you create a daily routine.
Use alarms or timers to get your kids on board
If you have little ones, then you probably know that transitioning from one activity to another can mean a total meltdown is on its way.
Instead of springing an activity change on your kids, try using a timer to signal to them when you’re going to change activities.
For example, I will get my daughter’s attention and say to her, “Okay, you can play for 5 more minutes, and when the timer goes off it’ll be time to brush your teeth and go to bed.” I set the timer for 5 minutes and when it goes off I remind her with something like, “Alright, the timer went off! It’s time to brush your teeth and go to bed!”
Transitions happen so so so much easier when we use a timer! My toddler loves the predictability of knowing that one task is over and another begins once the timer goes off, and will often remind me to use the timer to indicate changes in activity.
Our days stay on track much easier using this method because transitions can happen quickly and smoothly without having to deal with a meltdown (which eats up time).
You can even make it fun by using different alarm tones for different activities. For tasks you do at the same time daily, try setting some alarms with fun tones to keep you and your kiddos on track.
With kids, things hardly EVER go as planned. A gallon of milk is spilled, someone pottied on the carpet, the littlest is hungry, and just like that nap time has been pushed back an hour and the rest of your day is off kilter.
That’s okay. It’s just one day.
Try to take things in stride, be flexible, and make the best of what you’re given.
Start implementing the things that seem to be working
A daily routine will most likely not be established in a day, so choose a little something here and there to start implementing daily and see how it goes.
If it works, keep it. If it’s a disaster, tweak it until it feels right.
Consider things you want to start implementing and take baby steps to get there.