An easy to follow night routine for stay at home moms
When you first become a stay at home mom, it may take what feels like forever for you to get into a good rhythm. The days are long and the nights are short (unless you have children who doesn’t sleep through the night).
You are probably finding yourself in survival mode more often that not. Implementing a night routine for stay at home moms will be the first step to you taking back control of your days.
This routine should be quick and easy, and hopefully something you can look forward to!
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Why a night routine is important for stay at home moms
By introducing routines, you are giving yourself and family that consistency and structure that everyone is probably needing .
If you are a new stay at home mom or have been doing this for a while; you have probably worked outside of the home at some point. You most likely had to be at certain places at certain times, and your days were somewhat structured.
When you are a stay at home mom there is nobody telling you where to be and what time to be there. This means that it is up to you to decide how your days will play out. This can become overwhelming quickly if you don’t have a plan in place.
I would suggest starting with a night routine for yourself as well as your kid(s), that you actually stick to. By starting with a night routine; you are laying the foundation for a more successful morning
Once a night routine is established you will (hopefully) start to see your days running more smoothly, and you can then start implementing a morning routine checklist.
Some obstacles you may run into when trying to create a night routine:
(These are all things I will discuss below, and ways that you can still implement a night routine with these added obstacles.)
1- You have a newborn (or baby) that doesn’t sleep through the night or have a consistent schedule. Night waking can make evenings stressful (due to anticipation of not sleeping) and they may make you not want to get out of bed in the morning.
2-Co-sleeping kids can make things challenging when you are sharing your room (or bed) with your child.
3- You have a partner who works late or you fly solo in the evenings.
4- Bedtime might be different every night (for yourself and kids).
5- Your kids might be hard to get down to sleep at night which may turn your evening’s into a wile card.
(If any of these apply to you, read all the way to the end for some possible solutions.)
Tips for creating a simple night routine for stay at home moms
The trick to any good routine is to keep it simple! If there are too many steps you may find yourself skipping part of it, or you may end up forgoing it altogether!
This isn’t what we want, the goal is to create something you can stick to and actually look forward to at the end of the day. This isn’t meant to be complicated!
Even if the day was stressful and your toddler had tantrum after tantrum, we want you to be able to look forward to your evening routine checklist (instead of dreading it). The goal is to make it a point of relief, not add more stress to your day.
By creating a night routine you are also laying the foundation for a successful morning by preparing the night before.
Here are some tips to help you create your night routine
1- Have a plan for dinner time
Now this isn’t a schedule, its a routine so you can treat it as such. You don’t have to sit down to eat as a family at the same time every night, but make sure the routine is consistent from week to week. This could mean sitting down to eat together as a family some nights, and scheduling certain days where the kids eat dinner earlier and you order take out later.
On the days you eat dinner as a family, say you start prepping dinner at 5:30 and sit down to eat around 6:30, This leaves plenty of time for the bedtime routine after.
If there are certain days you’d prefer to eat after the kids are in bed, work that into the routine! For example, on Tuesdays and Thursdays the kids eat at 5:3o and the adults order take out after the kids are in bed.
This gives the kids a good idea what the dinner routine consists of on a weekly basis. I don’t believe that you need to eat together as a family every night, but make sure you work it in at least a few nights a week.
Another thing we always make a point to do at out house, is it it is a day where the kids are eating early and my husband and I will be eating later, we always sit and talk to our kids while they are eating. I think the important thing is that you are sitting and engaging with them, you don’t necessarily need to be eating too.
2- Set a bedtime for your kids (and yourself) and stick to it
It’s not always practical to stick to the same bed time every night, because sometimes you have plans in the evenings and things get pushed back, but make sure you the routine is consistent for the most part.
If bedtime was pushed back an hour on Sunday, get back on track for Monday. As long as every one knows what to expect and can get back on track the next day, thats all that matters.
I have found that when I hold myself accountable and stick to a bedtime ,I sleep so much better because I’m prioritizing my own sleep. When I don’t have a bedtime in mind I find myself staying up much later than anticipated.
I have found that when my kids (and myself) have a routine that we follow and go to bed around the same time every night, we all go down easier and sleep longer. Consistency can really be a game changer.
Related: The secret to staying motivated as an overly exhausted mom
3- Do a few easy tasks in the evening
Do a few simple tasks before heading to bed to better prepare yourself for the next day.
If you have read my stay at home mom schedule you would know that I always make sure I do these two things before going to bed.
- Fold a load of laundry (I always start a load first thing in the morning)
- Load and start the dishwasher so it’s ready to be unloaded in the morning
I fold at night because it’s one of those tasks that’s better done without kids throwing your freshly folded clothes around, or maybe that’s just my kids? This can easily be done while watching a show with my husband.
I make sure the dishwasher is loaded and started at the end of the night so it’s ready for me to unload in the morning. This leaves an empty dishwasher to be filled all day long.
4-Tidy the house and clean the kitchen after the kids are in bed
I always make sure my house is picked up before I head to bed. This isn’t a full deep clean by any means, I make sure the kitchen is tidy and all main living spaces have everything put back in the correct places. This shouldn’t take any more than 15 minutes.
Here are a few examples of the things I tidy:
(I focus on main living areas and my own bedroom, I don’t worry about kids rooms or bathrooms)
- Pick up any toys left out
- Make sure the kitchen is picked up
- Put odds and ends back in their place
- Put away any clothes laying around (hang up or put in the dirty laundry)
- Put couch cushions back in place, pillow and blankets back in order
This leaves me with a clean slate for the next morning. I don’t have to start my day cleaning up toys or doing the dishes from the night before.
I will clean the kitchen after dinner while my husband starts the bedtime routine, but if my husband is working late I will usually just leave the mess until I put the kids in bed.
Waking up to a clean or at least a “tidy” house is one of the best things I do for my mental health. Tidying up usually takes less then 15 minutes and I always thank myself in the morning!
Related: Sneaky ways to keep your house clean with kids
Related: Easy ways to declutter your home when you have no time
5- Make a to-do list for the next day
I find that writing a to-do list the night before to be more productive for myself. My mind is already thinking about the next day, so it’s a good time to jot down what needs done, and it gives me a chance to glance at my calendar to make sure i’m not forgetting anything.
I always seem to forget everything the morning of, so it’s nice to have something written down and ready to go that has all the important tasks I need to get done that day.
Make sure to include things like:
- Bills that need paid
- Errands you need to run
- Phone calls or emails you need to write
Related: How to be a more organized stay at home mom
6- Prep for the next morning
There are a few things I like to do to prepare for the morning. I don’t do these every night, but I try my best too. My morning’s go so much smoother when I have these things completed already.
I find it especially important to get these tasks done if we need to leave first thing in the morning or are planning to be gone most of the day. It relieves some of the stress of trying to get out of the house with babies and toddlers.
- Prepare my coffee maker for the morning
- Prep lunches for tomorrow
- Pick out everyones outfits
- Have a diaper bag ready to go if you are leaving early in the morning
7- Shut screens off early
I know it’s hard, but by shutting phones, laptops, and t.v’s off at least an hour before you head to bed will help you get to sleep faster and hopefully help you sleep longer (source).
8- Try to get in some “self care” (ex: take a bath, face mask, read a book, watch a show)
Make sure you do something for you! This doesn’t have to be big; it could be watching a show with your partner, do an extra long skincare routine, write in a journal, read a few chapters in a book or even meditate. Something that makes you happy and helps you relax before bed.
As moms (or women in general) we are constantly giving and giving, and often times forget to take care of ourselves, because we are so busy taking care of everyone else.
You can make something as simple as your evening skincare routine more enjoyable just by taking a few extra minutes to light a candle and listen to music or a podcast while doing it. That 10 or 15 minutes you take for yourself can make a big difference in your day, make sure to prioritize you!
9- Stick with what works for your night routine and don’t add anything new.
Start with the basics first. Implement a really simple, easy to follow routine for your family and see how it goes. You may be able to add more to the routine later on.
10-Create your ideal night routine checklist (if you haven’t already)
Your night routine should include some of the same actions every night, like the ones I have listed above. They may not always happen at the same time, but everyone should have an idea of what order they will be done in.
This night time checklist should be kept somewhere visible so that you and your family can see it whenever needed (especially if this is a new routine) . You can have a night notebook or print it out and hang it on your wall.
Make sure to include things like: getting ready for bed, kids bedtime routine, tidying the house, nightly rituals etc…
This can become especially helpful as kids get older because they will love checking things off their list before they head to bed.
11- Don’t feel bad if you can’t always follow it! Life happens and some nights will be more hectic than others. Just do the best that you can.
Things don’t always go as planned, but that’s not a reason to get discouraged! If anything, it’s a reason to keep on going and get back on track the next day.
As kids get older, things may change. There may be activities you have to attend to in the evenings and things may need to be shuffled. That’s okay! Take thing’s day by day and find what works for you.
Solutions to some of the obstacles we discussed above:
1- If you have a newborn or a baby that’s not on a consistent sleep schedule (or no schedule at all).
Use a baby carrier when going through the night routine with your other kids (if you have more than one).
A baby carrier can be a godsend if you have a baby that wants to be held, or needs a contact nap while you are cooking dinner or doing bath time.
Consider Co-sleeping or bed sharing if night wakings are a point of stress for you. There are safe bed sharing practices you can follow that will help make sleep less stressful.
On the flip side, bed sharing or co-sleeping babies can also make things more challenging when you are trying to enjoy your time alone after the kids are in bed.
You may have to adjust your evenings to be spent watching a show in the living room before you head to bed to avoid waking your sleeping baby.
Another option that has worked well for us is transferring out baby to his own bed initially once he falls asleep, and once he has woken up we move him to our bed (which is usually right about the time we are heading to bed, or there after.)
Heysleepybaby is someone you should look too for infant and toddler sleep advice. She uses evidence based courses and guides that you can follow for respectful infant sleep practices, that follow the biology of natural infant sleep and behavior. Rachel is the only person I go to if i’m looking for sleep advice.
2- If you are on your own in the evenings with your kid(s)
You might consider allowing some screen time while you prep dinner for some peace and quiet.
Utilize that baby carrier so you can be hands free as much as possible.
Save cleanup until after the kids are asleep so you can do it as efficiently as possible, and use that time to spend with your kids in the evening instead.
3- If you don’t have a bedtime routine, now is the tie to implement one
Kids (and adults) thrive on routine so knowing what to expect will hopefully help them get to sleep faster.
Your kids should know the sequence of events that happen after dinner. For example; bath, books and then bed.
Bedtime should happen around the same time every night, so try and plan accordingly so you can stick to that time.
4- If your kids take a while to fall asleep at night
You might want to look into adjusting their day time schedule, or possibly bedtime.
Naps may need to be adjusted, or the time they go to bed depending on age and what they have going on during the day.
Providing plenty of outdoor time in the sunshine to help boost melatonin for sleep, and help ware off some of that energy!
This may take some trial and error to see what works best for your kids. Some kids just take longer to get to sleep, and may wake throughout the night. (and thats okay!)
5- Are night waking a point of anxiety for you? (From both yourself or kids)
Consider night lights or a sound machine to help with night wakings if it is an issue for your family.
Invest in a good quality mattress as well as sheets and pillows (this can make a big difference). Washing your sheets weekly can help so much. I always sleep the best in freshly washed sheets!
Adjust the temperature as needed (a room that is too hot or too cold can be a breeding ground for multiple night wakings)
Put some lavender on your pillows to help relax at night.
A night routine for stay at home moms can make a big difference in your days
With all of that being said, I hope this gave you some inspiration and a few ideas to get you started creating your own night routine for you and your family.
Implementing a night routine can be one of the most rewarding things you do. It will give your family something to look forward to at the end of each day, and it’ll ensure that you’re not scrambling around in the morning trying to get everything done before work or school.
You may also sleep better as a result which could lead to smoother days for everyone! How has implementing a nightly ritual been going?