Afternoon Routine of a Stay-at-Home Mom

Your afternoon routine may be a bit more laid back than your morning routine. If you are like me, your body slows down and it’s time for you to recharge a little before gearing up for the evening tasks.

When my kids were napping, my afternoon routine looked very different than it does now. I obviously had more time to myself in the afternoons, and I didn’t have the flexibility to leave the house.

Now that I have one son in school all day and one home in the afternoons but not napping, I need a little structure to my afternoons.

In this post I will walk you through a day-in-the- life of our afternoon routine. My hope is that if you are finding afternoons to be a bit tough, you’ll find some inspiration to make some changes or create your own afternoon routine (you can use this free guide to help you!).

Why You Need an Afternoon Routine

In our house, afternoons are the most laid back part of the day. But without a routine, I can find myself wasting those hours procrastinating, or zoning out on things that don’t really matter to me.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest that you should use the afternoon to be uber productive. For most of us, me included, the afternoon is the part of day when my body naturally slows down and needs to rest.

But you can use those hours to get just a few things done, spend some quality time with your non-napping child, and invest in yourself for a few minutes.

I use my afternoon routine to energize myself for the crazy hours that follow – homework, dinner, and bedtime.

Give Yourself Grace in the Afternoon

If your child is napping in the afternoon, give yourself some grace and rest. When my sons were both napping, I always put high expectations on what I should get done in that precious time. Then I would end up procrastinating and avoiding my to-do list only to feel annoyed when they would wake up because I thought I had wasted that time. But in reality, I needed to rest so I could handle the rest of the day.

Don’t get down on yourself if you aren’t using your kids nap time to be productive. Give yourself some grace and take that time to recharge doing something you enjoy.

Our Typical Afternoon Routine

This is a typical afternoon in our house – it changes up a little depending on how our mornings go.

You will see that I include the obvious, like lunch and stuff, but I also include some time for myself. I find that if I don’t take a half hour to do something I enjoy, I really dread going into the evening. That little time for myself is really fulfilling and leads to a better evening for me.

Return Home From Preschool

After returning home from preschool, my son has to wash his hands and put his shoes away.

Boy washing his hands as part of the afternoon routine

Make Lunch

Then it’s time for lunch. He prefers PB+J everyday. I usually warm up leftovers or make myself a salad.

Peanut butter and jelly for lunch as part of the afternoon routine

Worksheets + Puzzle Time

My son would watch TV all afternoon if I let him. I don’t mind him watching it for a little bit, but he has to work for his TV time. He has to complete two worksheets and do a puzzle before he can enjoy Netflix.

Boy doing educational worksheet as part of the afternoon routine

I help him with the worksheets, but he’s on his own with the puzzle.

Boy doing puzzle as part of his afternoon routine.

Dinner Prep

After we have lunch, and my son is working on his puzzle, I do a little dinner prep. I don’t do this everyday, but when I’m feeling ambitious I will. On this day, I washed and trimmed the asparagus. We were having grilled chicken with it so this was the extent of my prepping.

If I am using my crockpot, this is usually the time I will put that meal together.

Meal prepping  as part of the afternoon routine

TV Time

Once my son finishes his worksheets and puzzle, he watches some TV. I’m going to be honest that depending on what I have planned for the afternoon, he might watch TV for two hours…I used to feel guilty about this and I’ve let that go now. This is usually the only time of the day he watches TV, other than in the car. It’s his time to veg out and it’s my time to recharge.

Watching TV as part of the afternoon routine.

Time For Myself

While he’s watching TV, I work on a few things depending on the day. Some days I will sit next to him on the couch and work on my cross-stitch while I watch Bravo shows on my phone. This is one of the ways I make time for something I enjoy to do during the day.

Cross-stitching as part of the afternoon routine.

If I’ve had a busy morning and didn’t get to writing on this blog while my son was at preschool, I will use this time to do that.

Writing this blog as part of the afternoon routine.

And some days I’m tired and sit down with my book, read for a bit, and take a 15 minute nap.

Reading as part of the afternoon routine.

Get Out of the House

At least twice a week, I try to get out of the house in the afternoon to do something fun.

Going to the library as part of the afternoon routine.

We will meet friends at the library or go enjoy the outdoors at our nature center.

Going to the local nature center as part of the afternoon routine.

One day a week we grocery shop.

Bus Drop-Off

Our afternoon routine ends with my son returning home from school. I brew myself a cup of decaf coffee (it feels like a little treat to me at this time of day), and get ready for the chaos that is the 4 pm hour.

At this point we go into “after school” mode which includes homework and some playtime.

If you’re interested in finding an After School Checklist to help that part of the day go smoother, check out the Kids Routine Checklists bundle!

Afternoon Routine Ideas

Here are some other Afternoon Routine ideas:

What Does Your Afternoon Routine Look Like?

I hope you enjoyed seeing a day-in-the life of my afternoon routine. What does your afternoon routine look like? Will you be adding anything you read about here to your routine? Or will you be removing anything from your afternoon routine? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay at Home Mom Afternoon Schedule

{Feeling overwhelmed and not enjoying motherhood? Grab your FREE Quick Guide to Lessen Overwhelm…This eBook is filled with everything you need to get your overwhelm under control so that you enjoy motherhood more. Get your copy here! }

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  1. You have an incredibly helpful blog. (I’ve been looking at your different posts for like 20 minutes haha)
    Something I’ve been needing to do is get my day planned out and organized so I can get more done as a stay at home mom. I think your blog can really help me with that!
    I’ll definitely be back to see new posts.

    1. Oh thank you Megan! That is so sweet of you! I’m so glad you are finding the blog posts helpful. Let me know if there is anything specific you would like me to write about! xo

  2. As a stay at home mom of a toddler and 5 th grader. It is hard for me to figure this out. Yes the fifth grader is at school but the toddler runs around like the world is her oyster. I know she’s three but I can’t get her to have quite time without putting a tablet infront of her. When her sister gets home it’s even more hectic, loud and the afternoon and evening routines never stay as planned. I’m telling myself that we’re having a hiccup in the road and hopefully things will get better. I love your blogs, thank you for sharing and please keep sharing.

    1. Hi Margaret! I was kind of in the same situation with quiet time…it was hard for my little one to rest or play quietly without the TV on, and that’s OK! Sometimes your sanity is what’s most important…things will get a better as the time goes on AND it’s totally OK for you to not be in love with how hectic and things feel at times. Go easy on yourself and try to be as flexible as possible. Thanks for your kind words about my blog 🙂

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