Routines, Schedules and Sleep, Oh My!

When my son was first born, I was a probably a little crazy with his schedule. It may or may not have been necessary then, but when he became a toddler I could see how having a routine for his day became more important – being that he has autism, I believe it really helped him, and it seemed to help put me more at ease, too!

With my daughter, I was a lot more relaxed. Still did scheduling with her naps and such,  but she was a much more easy-going toddler and jumped into a routine quickly.

Scheduling is an important part of our days – even now that the kids are bigger. I don’t ever want to be so fixed on our schedule, though, that we lose sight of our day. Finding a good balance of having a schedule and submitting to the Lord’s will is what we strive for in our household. And, there isn’t anything wrong with being spontaneous, but that’s what makes it more fun – surprising them with something different when they don’t expect it!


With that being said, putting your kids {and even yourself} on a schedule that’s flexible can really help keep your day running smoothly and more predictable. Even as babies, I set up a schedule for my little ones so that it would help keep our day moving. Some years, I made each day of the week a certain “theme” – park day, errands day, Mommy group at church day, etc. I also made each one a fun schedule and put it up in their rooms and in the kitchen. I could refer to it with them once they were bigger, but as babies, it just kept me motivated. I also kept myself on a cleaning schedule to keep my whole house looking good by only cleaning 15 minutes a day.



Now, my kids have to be at school by 8 and 8:30, so over the years I’ve developed a way to keep them moving. One of my kids can be pretty slow in the morning {easily distracted} and I have to set a timer and have consequences when that time is up and the expectations aren’t met. I give plenty of time for each task – so as not to exasperate them, but also expect them not to dawdle. In the summer, I put them on an easy-going schedule so we just don’t get stuck doing nothing all day.



We’ve made it a point to let the kids know that schedules can change – and will. The ultimate One who controls our schedule is God. And so, when it unexpectedly changes, we learn to submit to that change {Acts 18:21}. He is in control – boy has THAT greatly eased anxiety in myself and my children knowing that. Be sure that when you set up a schedule for your kids that you are flexible and willing to change it if it doesn’t work. I usually re-do my kids’ schedules every year or so. I find that as they grow, so must their schedule!

Have you set up any kind of schedule for your kids or yourself? If so, is it working?

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  1. says

    Thank you for this post. It’s perfect timing as I’ve just started to think about our summer and how to arrange the kids’ schedules. I have 3 that can play all day and just go with the flow, but one that is constantly in trouble if she doesn’t have every minute of her day planned out for her.

    I’m curious, what are your consequences for dawdling? Do you have any other tricks for preventing it besides consequences? The same child who needs every minute planned out, also struggles to get things done in a timely manner. I know some of the reasons we are seeing these problems, but am really hoping for more ideas to combat the behaviors. Thank you!

    • Becky Barnfather says

      Michelle – The consequences I give now are “for every minute they take too long getting ready, I take 5 minutes away from their bedtime” – so going to bed early is a big motivator for this one. We set timers and I just have to stay on top of this child. I have talked with other moms and from my own experience, it seems around 10 or 11 {after being diligent about it with that child} they begin to see a big difference and have to deal with this problem less and less.

      Becky B.

  2. Liz Slater says

    I agree schedules are key to keeping everyone on task. Our kids are pretty good in the morning, bedtime is the struggle. Lights out are at 9pm, and we want everyone ready by 840 to have time to read stories together and in bed on their own. Sometimes they don’t make it, and miss out on the family story but still get time to read alone.

    As an extra incentive, my husband came up with the idea of giving them a 5 cent bonus for being early. The key is that all have to be ready. So if one is early, we encourage them to help their siblings, by tidying up their room, while the other one finishes. I don’t really feel like we should have to pay our kids to get ready in time, but it’s a small amount, and they don’t always get it, but have been more consistent making it by the story cutoff.

    • Becky Barnfather says

      Liz – You have some great ideas! It sounds like you’ve gotten your kids into a good schedule! Great job, especially with it being a “team” effort!

      Becky B.

  3. Jennifersampayo says

    Our schedule is “in development.” I’d love to know what resources you used for the pictures. That’s where I’m having trouble. Thanks for sharing!

    • Becky Barnfather says

      Jennifer – Schedules are always in development, so don’t feel like it has to be just right the first try. If, after a week or two it isn’t working, change it! My pictures I got from Microsoft Word picture gallery, mostly.

      Becky B.

  4. Tippsfamily4 says

    I plan on getting a summer schedule together. I am a teacher so i am blessed to be home in the summer with my daughter. She is 13. this year our family has got into a healthier eating routine and i can get lazy in the summer but i am already thinking about keeping up on this life style(permanent change). I need to set up a daily routine and also im going to get busy organizing our home. Iam also planning to try the 15 minute a day cleaning schedule. I will probably try soon.
    i really love OMF!!I especially enjoy her because she loves the Lord.;-) also i am interested in this blog..the better mom. Thanks ladies for your encouragement. I want to be the mom/wifeGod wants me to be.

    • Becky Barnfather says

      Oh, thank you for your kind words! Sounds like you’ve got a great plan for the summer – I love having a summer schedule when the kids are home! It’s fun to change things up!

      Becky B.

  5. RusticComfort says

    Even though my son is only 15 months old, he has been on a schedule since he has been a newborn. Having him on a schedule is AMAZING!!! He takes a nap at 10 and 2 every single day and has since he was around 5 or 6 months old. He even knows when it’s time and I have scheduling to thank for that. I also believe that having children on a schedule brings a large part of structure into their lives and paves the way for (hopefully) responsibility when they get older.

  6. Adrienne @ SavedbyGrac says

    I love this, I am a list girl, I love everything on a schedule. It works and keeps me inline and focused. But most importantly keeps me in order. Thank you for sharing

  7. says

    I don’t do times but have a list my son has to go through in the morning and when he comes home from school. It definitely helped to keep him on track and to be able to justify consequences when he did not do something he knew he was supposed to be doing because he became distracted!

  8. says

    I raised four children and was always on a schedule and keeping lists. Today as an empty-nester, I still find myself keeping lists, taking notes, and maintaining a schedule for my website. It’s so important to maintain the balance between body, mind and spirit (exercise, work, and time for your soul work). Keeping my life organized, for the most part, helps me maintain this balance. Thank you for sharing your day with me. I love your organization charts.


  1. […] of blog posts that I’ve read the last couple of days and have me thinking more about this are this post at The Better Mom about having a schedule for children and I just saw today’s post at We Are […]

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