3 Under 3: Developing a Routine

I dread the word schedule.  Routine, however, is a bit better.  We all need a simple routine to keep us focused, right?

While we hardly stick to ours, having a visible routine helps keep us somewhat on track for the day.  And on those off days, a visible routine gets us back on track.

I have tried many, many different types of checklists and setups for scheduling our daily routine.  But most of them were way too advanced for our family at this time in our lives.

I needed something simple.

So I came with up an AM & PM routine.  Everything fits into a simple chart on one piece of 8 x 10 paper, which is put into a sheet protector and hangs on our refrigerator.  This is what ours looks like:


  • Breakfast.  Devotion during.  Brush teeth after.
  • Unload dishwasher.
  • Start laundry.
  • Weekly chores.
  • 15 min. organize
  • Free time.


  • Lunch.  Then naps.
  • Free time.
  • Dinner.
  • Bath.  Brush teeth.
  • Story & bedtime.
  • Load dishes & run.
  • Swiffer tile.
  • Finish laundry.

I also have our Weekly Chores listed on the side.

  • M – Clean kitchen.  Change sheets.
  • T – Vacuum & scrub tile.  Clean guest bathroom.
  • W – Vacuum bedrooms & living room.  Sweep porch & patio.
  • R – Clean master bathroom.  Take out trash.
  • F – Vacuum & steam mop.
  • S – Dust all rooms.  Wipe down walls & doors.

This is the easiest way for our family to attempt to stay on top of things.  We don’t go by times, because that is really just impossible for us.  And for me.  I don’t like to be that “scheduled”.

I like having the 15 minute organize a part of our daily routine, because there is always something that needs to be reorganized, put away or finished.  This helps keep the house somewhat clutter free and manageable.

Free time is usually my time to focus on the girls.  Playing together.  Doing tot school activities.  Going outside.  Running an errand.

And during nap time, that’s my rest time too.  I NEVER do any chores while the girls are napping, because I really need that time to refuel myself.

So, this is what works for us.  For now. :)

I’m always on the lookout for something better and easier.  I’d love to hear what routine works for you, so please feel free to share in the comments section or link back to your own blog!

Photo Credit
Linking to…

works for me wednesday at we are that family

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12 Responses to 3 Under 3: Developing a Routine

  1. I’ve gotten away from the purposeful 15 minute organization. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. LaToya says:

    I love that you rest during nap time. I need to start doing that. I’m usually running around trying to get last minute things done and then I’m irritable the rest of the day because I forgot to stop and rest.

    • Rawny says:

      That is my problem too. I try to cram a bunch in while she is napping. Plus, I am an online college student and will try to work on homework during that time, but my mind wants to relax, so usually I end up doing things like this. I need to find a balance because I don’t like working on homework while my husband is home- I would rather spend quality time with him.

      • Carolyn says:

        I hear ya, mamas! It is tough finding a balance in it all. I try to get our housework and dinner prep done in the mornings so I can just rest (and usually blog) during naptime. Then I am free to be with hubby later after bedtime.

        It can be tough in the mornings trying to clean and prep dinner, but I’ve learned to let the girls work alongside me. Or give them something they can do on their own. (Going to do a post on some ideas soon!) The thing is you just have to remember that it will probably take you a lot longer to get these things done with them around. But I don’t mind and they enjoy “helping”. :)

        With homework… that is tough. I think just trying to do what you can… and also enjoying time together side by side while your husband is doing something can work out too. Also, just remember that you won’t be in school forever and this is just a tough season. Do the best you can, all the while enjoying every moment, and who cares about everything else? So what if your house is messy. That’s the phase I’m at in life… with 3 under 3 soon, our house won’t be spic and span organized for a loooong time. ;)

  3. LIB says:

    great tip! can’t wait try it…


  4. Melissa says:

    I always looking for new ideas for scheduling my group…6 kids (19, 14, 5, 4, 2, 1). Routines have always been hard for me to keep due everyones changing schedules. Keeping it simple and have no times attached is a great idea. I love the naptime idea of rest. Mine all take naps at different times of the day. I used to homeschool all the kids but next year we are trying out private school. That means only 2 kids at home all day. I am looking to using your schedule idea with my tots during the day. Thanks.

  5. Alexis MacPhee says:

    Thank you so much!! I have been trying to follow other home cleaning schedules but just get so tired and behind! Being pregnant with #2 and a small toddler at home I love what you have suggested. Everything is much more realistic and manageable for me in the ‘season’. Thank you so much for your encouragement :) I knew there was a more practicle solution for me for right now.

    • Carolyn says:

      When I stumbled upon that article about once a month cleaning, I said, “Thank you! Now I don’t feel like a complete sloth and pig! It’s ok if I don’t clean my house every single week!” It took A LOT of weight off my shoulders. And honestly if I keep up with the dishes, laundry, and wiping down bathrooms/toilets and cleaning up spills, then my house really doesn’t need a good cleaning every week. Once a month is working for us right now. Now, we did have a big dog that shed a lot awhile ago and I had to do the floors at least twice a week. But we got rid of him because it was too much. Now doing the floors once a month works great. I do vacuum/sweep when I see that it needs it, but really cleaning once a month isn’t as disgusting as it sounds. lol. :) And like you said.. you have to do what works for you in your “season” of life. With little ones (especially when pregnant too!), you have to be realistic and let a few things go. Thanks for stopping by, Alexis! I am glad you could be encouraged. :)

  6. Buffy Goosev says:

    I crave routine! I love this idea, especially the purposeful 15 min organization. Plus I’ve been known to put a timer on computer chores so my kids don’t feel neglected – my 4 year old knows that when my timer goes off, Momma is done working on the computer.

    Love your emails and dedication to purposeful living! :)

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