main image of stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old: mom and daughter with craft supplies

Best Stay-at-Home Mom Schedule for an 18-Month-Old

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What do stay-at-home moms do with toddlers?

Before I became a stay-at-home mom, I remember asking my friends “what do you do all day?” Wow! Was that an insult. Let me apologize now.

I actually didn’t mean it quite the way it sounds. At the time I had a six-month old, who couldn’t really DO anything. So, I had no idea what I was going to do to fill my day (and not go stir crazy).

Fortunately for stay-at-home moms, babies change quickly and there is actually quite a lot to do all day. In fact, most days, there’s too much to do.

So, whether you’re trying to decide to become a stay-at-home mom or you’re just in need of a better routine, keep reading to find the best stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old.

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toddler girl playing with blocks
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova

What activities should I be doing with my 18-month-old?

Play is the most important things for toddlers to be doing during the day (source). Everything they learn is through playing. I didn’t quite believe this until my son hit this stage, but even things like manners and safety are things you can teach during playtime.

As far as I’m concerned, activities don’t have to be structured right now. Use the books and toys you already have and let your toddler guide the day. I have a toy box for larger toys, bins for storing toddler books, and a cubby to keep stuffed animals with bins for smaller toys.His toys are within his reach, and he decides what he’ll play with next.

Crayons, craft supplies, flash cards, or anything that needs some form of supervision is kept up. At this age, he’s more aware of where those items are located, so if he wants to do those things, he’ll point, and I’ll get them for him. Those are also items that I clean up right after we’re done.

Of course, I’ll offer suggestions throughout the day. Do you want to build something with your blocks? Should we read some books? Is it time to color?

As you’re playing, name colors, shapes, numbers. Explain the scene in the book you’re reading. Not only will this help with learning, but it will also develop language skills (source).

When your kiddo seems to be getting bored with the toys you have, it may be time to introduce something new. Or even try something like a blanket fort or a ball pit to break up the day.

What time should nap be for 18-month-old?

My son typically takes his nap anywhere between 1 and 5. Of course, naps don’t usually last 4 hours. But I’ll allow my son some quiet time in his crib before he falls asleep. If he gets to sleep by 1:30-2, he’ll typically wake around 3:30 or 4. But on days, he doesn’t get to sleep until 2:30-3, I’ll wake him at 5. I never let him sleep past 5, or it messes with his bedtime.

On days he wakes earlier than 5 (or days he decides he doesn’t want to nap at all), we’ll head outside on nice days or just add an extra activity in the house. Sometimes, I’ll even bath him early (just so he has something to occupy his time).

monthly planner
Photo by Bich Tran

What is a good schedule for an 18-month-old?

This is what a typical day looks like with my 18-month-old. I didn’t include time spent with family or time out of the house, simply to show you what your typical SAHM routine could like with your 18-month-old.

woman awake in bed
Photo by Artem Podrez

6:00-6:30 am: Mom wakes

On a good day (meaning I got to bed before midnight), I’ll get up between 6 and 6:30. This allows me time to wake up and get some stuff done for myself. One of those things is working on this blog. It gives me time to think clearly and get my bearings before I have to be mom.

toddler girl standing in crib
Photo by Mitch Oram

7:30 am: Kiddo wakes

My son typically wakes up around 7:30 (all on his own). Sometimes we’ll get an 8 o’clock start on the weekends. But at least this gives me time to shower before my husband heads to work.

7:40 am: Get kiddo dressed

After checking on the neighborhood, it’s time to get dressed. At 18 months, my son is able to help choose his own clothes. It’s a fun task for him and allows him a little independence. I normally give him two options, so we don’t empty the entire contents of his dresser every morning.

8:00 am: Breakfast

Your stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old must include breakfast for your kiddo and you as well. My little guy is becoming more independent and able to eat certain things on his own. So, I’ll usually get him started with something then make my breakfast and we’ll eat together. An easy breakfast idea for him is scrambled eggs.

8:30 am: Mom showers

I’m fortunate that my husband is currently working from home, so I am able to grab a quick shower while he watches our son. If he wasn’t available, I would move this to my 6:30 slot. Of course, you can always take your kiddo in the bathroom when you shower. My little guy is into everything, so I need to use a playard or his highchair to keep him safe.

yellow latex gloves on dish rack
Photo by Lisa Fotios

9:00 am: Chores/Workout

Some days my stay-at-home mom routine with an 18-month-old includes chores or a workout. (Yes, I do this after my shower, but only on days we don’t have to go somewhere. And I always do a quick clean up in the sink after.) Now let’s break this down:

  1. Chores – My morning chores include washing and folding laundry, washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen, or meal prep. Now that my son is a little older, he is more capable of playing on his own. So, he usually brings his toys into the bedroom or kitchen while I work.
  2. Workout – Before my son turned 18 months, I would work out during one of his naps. However, after he dropped his morning nap, it didn’t offer me enough time to get a workout and get stuff done around the house. I also think it’s good for him to see me working out and taking time to care for myself. And I’m hopeful that it will normalize a healthy lifestyle for him.

I never have time for chores and a workout in the same day, and some days my son just wants me to sit and play with him. So, this part of my stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old is flexible. If I really need to get something done, I’ll put on some music to keep us both entertained. (Or I’ll allow some screen time to keep him busy.) And sometimes, my son even helps (by carrying laundry to his room).

girl sitting outside with teddy bear reading a book
Photo by Andy Kuzma

10:00 am: Activity time

Ten o’clock marks the beginning of our together activity time. And I’m pretty flexible with what the activity will be. No, I don’t schedule activities for a certain time of day or day of week. And I haven’t started any activities that I have to prepare in advance. (I’m saving those for when my son is a little older.) For now, our activities include reading, coloring, building blocks, playing with the various toys we have around the house, or spending time in our makeshift ball pit. If the weather is nice, we may take a morning walk or blow bubbles outside.

10:30 am: Snack

Depending on just how hungry my son determines what his snack is and where he’s going to eat it. I have a late talker, but at 18 months, he is able to communicate well enough with me that I know what he wants to eat. (He’s very good at yes and no.)

stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old: mom holding toddler

If we’re eating messy fruits (berries) or a food he can’t feed himself, we’ll stop playing and I’ll put him in the highchair.

For less messy foods (bananas) or foods he can feed himself (he does good with yogurt), he usually wants to sit on the floor and eat. And I’m ok with that, if it gets him to eat.

But if he’s just snacking on the go, with Puffs or Yogurt Drops, I’ll load up his snack catcher and we’ll play while he snacks.

I always offer milk with every snack and meal. And I keep a sippy cup of water available for him that he can grab whenever he needs a drink. I’m doing my best to keep him away from sugary drinks. (No judgement here though momma. I just know it’s easier if he doesn’t know those things exist yet.)

toddler girl playing in a sensory bin
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova

11:00 am: Activity time

This activity time is basically a continuation of the 10 o’clock activity time. For my stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old, if the snack is something he can eat on-the-go, then we’ll continue reading, coloring or playing with blocks. Of course, we don’t do anything active while we’re snacking.

And if we had a sit-down snack, then our activity will usually change. We have toys ALL. OVER. OUR. HOUSE. (Fortunately, they are mostly organized.) But that means if we spend the morning in the living room, then we may move to his bedroom, or (what I’ll call) our activity room. (Combination office, playroom, junk room.)

toddler eating in a highchair
Photo by Vanessa Loring

11:30am-12:00 pm: Lunch

Lunch typically begins anywhere between 11:30 and noon. And usually takes about an hour. (Depending on how much my son wants to do on his own.) The more capable he is at using utensils, the longer lunch seems to last.

On the plus side, the more capable he is at using utensils, the more time it gives me in my stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old to eat lunch and empty and reload our dishwasher. My guy is still happily using his highchair, so it makes it a lot easier to have a structured meal.

1:00-5:00 pm: Nap window

I’m calling this time in my stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old the “nap window.” There’s no way my son is taking a four-hour nap. Bedtime would be much later if he slept that long during the day. And I certainly don’t expect your kiddo to sleep that long either. So, let me explain what usually happens.

Once we’re finished with lunch and cleaned up, we do a quick diaper change (cause who can sleep with a full diaper?). Then, depending on how much playing we did in his room, I may clean up some (just so I don’t trip over anything in the dark).

***Normally, I don’t pick up toys throughout the day (because who has time for that?). I will pick up crayons or craft supplies just so they don’t make a mess. And I always make sure to include my son in clean-up time at the end of the day.

If he goes to sleep by 1:30, he’ll usually wake on his own between 3:30 and 4. But some days he won’t get to sleep until 2:30 or 3, then I’ll wake him at 5.

I never let him sleep past 5 because I don’t want his nap to upset his bedtime. And I’ll usually let him hang out in his crib until he falls asleep on his own (if he’s lying down and quiet). If he gets fussy or starts crying out, I’ll go and rock him and try to put him back down. Unfortunately, some days, this just doesn’t work.

This is also my time to get something done for me. Usually, I work on this blog. Sometimes, I will nap, read, or just relax. I rarely do chores during his nap, as this is my time of the day to unwind a little.

3:30-6:30 pm: Activity time and Dinner prep

Like I said wake-up time can be anywhere between 3:30 and 5, so this is another opportunity for activities or play time. On nice days, we’ll go for a walk, which is fun for your kiddo and a great way for you to practice some self-care while also filling up a large portion of your day.

I also use this time in my stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old to prepare dinner. I’m not someone who enjoys cooking, so I try my best to find recipes that leave lots of leftovers. This allows me to skip dinner prep at least every other day (more if I’m lucky). I’ll also offer a small snack if my son seems hangry.

dad and daughter playing with blocks
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova

6:30 pm: Playtime with Daddy and Clean-up

This is the time in my day when I can breathe a little easier and let someone else help bear the load. On really hard days, I may step away and take some time for myself. On better days, I’m changing out loads of laundry.

Sometime between now and bedtime is when we do a family toy clean-up. On really messy days, I’ll clean a room and my husband will clean a room, and our son helps each of us. Sometimes I’ll clean the room where they are not playing, just to get it out of the way. Regardless of how it’s done, all the toys are put away each night, and my son helps.

dad and toddler sitting together at dinner table
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova

7:00 Dinner

My nighttime routine with an 18-month-old is quite flexible. Dinner might not always be at 7, but it usually falls between 6:30 and 7:30.

And dinner isn’t always all of us eating together either. Some nights, my husband and I will eat after our little guy is in bed. (Because it’s just better to sit down to a hot meal together.)

8:00 pm: Bath time

Ok, so bath time doesn’t necessarily happen every night, especially if things are running behind (dinner runs late, lots of playtime, a big cleanup). And since babies don’t need baths every night, bath time only happened twice a week when my son was little. He’s probably up to three times a week now, as long as things run smoothly (and he’s in the mood).

8:30 pm: Bedtime

I’ve become very slack on a bed “time.” When my son was younger, it was strictly 7:30. Now that he’s a little older and has more energy to run off, it’s usually around 8:30 (but will sometimes sneak into 9, on special occasions). We’ve had the same bedtime routine since his first night home, and it’s something he really enjoys.

Once he’s in bed, I finally have time in my stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old for me. It may include dinner, time with my husband, or binge-watching some old Friends episodes. Rarely, does it include any more chores. I’ve had enough of those for the day.

woman asleep in bed
Photo by Ivan Oboleninov

10:00 pm: Mom’s bedtime

This one makes me feel like an old lady, but if I don’t get to bed by 10pm, I can’t get my stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old started. Of course, if you can run on less sleep (or have a less active toddler), adjust your bedtime to suit you.


There you have it: the best stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old. It can be quite a tiring day, especially if you have an active toddler. So, don’t try and do everything in one day. Give yourself plenty of grace with things around the house and spend as much time with that little one as you can. One day, you’ll turn around and they won’t be so little.

Before you go, grab a copy of our stay-at-home mom schedule for an 18-month-old to use a reference guide. And good luck setting up your daily routine! Let us know how it goes.


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