The Key To A Peaceful Home With Toddlers

Post written by Sherri Kruger. Follow me on Twitter.

Up until last week a typical day for me at home with the kids consisted of running around, tackling, whining, crying and quite a few time outs … and that was just for me! ;)

This past week was a crazy week for me and I loved it. As a family we seem to have been gelling more. We’re having fun, we’re laughing, we’re just being silly. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s a lack of other distractions but what I really think it is, is effort.

What I’ve changed over the past week

The biggest thing I’ve changed this past week is the effort I’ve but in. Effort into parenting, patience, being present, paying attention, laughing, understanding, and just having fun with my kids. Don’t get me wrong there was still plenty of whining and many challenges but these things didn’t take over our entire day.

We’ve been following a schedule, much like kids would at school or at a daycare. Structure … duh. I’ve always known it was important to kids but now that I’ve introduced it and I’m actually following it I GET it.

Our day

  • Wake up / Eat breakfast / Kids put dishes in the dishwasher
  • Kids do their responsibilities
  • Craft time
  • Snack time
  • Free play with toys / help get lunch ready
  • Eat lunch
  • Clean up / Play with toys
  • Get ready for quiet time
  • Done quiet time / start prepping for dinner
  • Set the table / Eat dinner / Clean up
  • Spend time with Dad
  • Ready for bed

You’ll notice there are no times next to any of these activities. That’s because the day can be rather unpredictable. Kids get sick, snow falls overnight, kids don’t wake up “on time” et cetera. There are a lot of things that can throw your whole day off and if you can learn to work with a loose schedule you’ll be much happier for it.


My kids are 2 and 3 years old and to me they are still my little babies. Some might think this is too young to start introducing responsibilities (I would have agreed if I hadn’t seen my kids’ response myself). I’ve posted these 4 pictures in their room (courtesy of – a great website by the way!) and each morning after we’ve tidied up from breakfast we read them one by one.

I can’t tell you how excited my sons get when it’s time to do their responsibilities. They are brushing their teeth, getting dressed, brushing their hair and making their own beds! Most of these things were met with much resistance before they had a fancy name (responsibilities) and came with cool posters on their wall.

Craft time

I’ve written before how playing with kids never goes according to plan. In making an effort to make craft time work I’ve started getting the crafts ready the night before. This means cutting out shapes, taping things in place and allowing glue to dry if need be. My kids are pretty impatient (go figure impatient toddlers) … so doing this in front of them wasn’t working and craft time quickly left our routine. Prep the night before has been HUGE.

Over the past week we’ve done three crafts that required a bit of prep time. Snowflake rubbings, snowflake wall hanging, and we glued bits and pieces on a snowman. The kids loved doing these. is a great source of inspiration for crafts and just having fun with your kids (I now rummage through the archives nightly to find a craft or something fun my boys and I can do the following day).

The key to a peaceful home, at least for us, is paying attention, having structure, planning in advance and jumping in with both feet.

Each family is different so how do you keep the peace in your home? Whether you have infants, toddlers or older kids?

19 Responses to “The Key To A Peaceful Home With Toddlers”

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  1. Wendy Irene says:

    Whenever things get overwhelming I always go back to structure to find peace again. It is such a huge help with small children! I love your idea of prepping craft time the night before. Wonderful idea and so glad to see it because my kids can never handle waiting for me to figure it out.

  2. Katie says:

    I’ve been working on developing routines with my almost 20 month-old daughter and 2 month-old son, but many days I struggle, especially lately – my daughter has started refusing her nap – she cries at the start of it and will fall asleep for maybe 20 minutes and then starts screaming at the top of her lungs – she is not getting the rest she needs, and I have lost my productive and personal time.

    Our routine looks quite a bit like yours, with meals, the clean up times and activities, but I did notice you have something you call “quiet time” – this piqued my interest – do your children no longer nap? What constitutes “quiet time” and how did you go about establishing it with your children? I think this might just be what we are looking for – both for my daughter’s rest and my sanity.

  3. Shanna says:

    It’s so refreshing to see parents who are hip to the idea of a routine and responsibilities for the kids!! Peace in the home…the means to this end seem to change all the time as my kids grow…I’d say the number one rule is respect for each other and themselves…the rest falls into place so much easier!

  4. Structure and routine is SO important to kids! And it makes life so much easier. A couple of years back, we visited with my cousin who had 5 kids at the time. I had my 3 school age plus 2 young grandkids. We had a great week, but we ran it kinda life a daycare, meaning we had structure and activities, set mealtimes, etc. Kids like to know what to expect! And they LOVE to do chores!

  5. Marilia says:

    Wow, the printable pictures are awesome! I´ll start using them for sure. We´ve been needing something like that in our home for a while. This newly found “responsibilities” might save the day for me as they did for you. Thanks a lot.

  6. I’m so happy my printable cards are helping your routine! Thanks so much for mentioning them:-)

  7. Brandi says:

    This is great! I was wondering when I should introduce responsibilities to my 2 year old son.

    Because I have the 2 year old and a 6 month old, routine is CRITICAL. I just need to get better at it. And I like the craft time idea. Love it, actually. I’m going to start implementing it.

    The printable card are awesome. Thanks for the tips!!!

  8. Shannon says:

    We have “quiet time” too. About a month before my twins were born my 2 1/2 year old started getting spotty with her afternoon nap – sometimes yes and sometimes no. This freaked me out, because I’ve been spoiled with a 3 hour nap since she was 10 months old and I am addicted to it. To keep it going, I moved some great toys into her room and encourage her to stay in there for the full 3 hours. On days that she doesn’t sleep she simply plays alone until I come get her. Sometimes she wants to come out, so I just go in praise her for playing quietly, give her a cuddle, and tell her I’m going back to bed and will come get her when nap time’s over. I plan to keep afternoon quiet time going FOREVER! :)

  9. Great schedule. I have two children and aim to have a deliberate and quality life with them. I must say that routine is incredibly important, I never realised how much when I had my first child. When number two came along I had to have a routine and nicknamed it ‘baby boot-camp’ – sounds awful but it wasn’t. The benefits of which are now immense. It’s hindsight – I learnt lessons first time around. I love the idea of documenting it like this in a timetable and will put it into practise. My first born is now starting to read and she will love having an itinerary – so she knows what is coming next. By not being able to tell the time it can be rather frustrating for her, so to have a list will be fantastic.

  10. Andrea says:

    Thanks for sharing your detailed schedule. It’s nice to see that success is possible. I’ve managed to keep my 1 and 2 year old on a strict bedtime/nap schedule and now have the 2 year old doing her laundry, but that’s about it. I guess I should amp it up a bit now.

    Otherwise, I feel like an utter failure in the mommy patience department. As a work-at-home mom my time is too divided with the phone and internet work/meetings, and as a result I have two crabby toddlers fighting over toys, watching too much TV, hanging on my legs, etc. I have nothing like that preschool-style schedule you wrote above. My two run around about 6 hours a day while I work. My almost three year old daughter refuses to even look at a toilet and screams when I encourage her to sit on it. I’ve decided this WAHM thing can’t be done – WELL done, anyway. I’ve considered quitting my job to be a full-time SAHM, but honestly, I don’t think I have the interest (I’m a foreign policy expert) nor the personality for it (see: patience), and that makes me sad. Still undecided.

    I genuinely adore the after 3pm time I spend with my kids snuggling, playing in the park, chatting, cooking, etc, but I just can’t do it ALL day. I’m quite envious of you zenmammas, but you do inspire me, and I so love my sweet babies – which is why I keep reading tips here and trying new approaches.

  11. Routine, routine, routine. And limiting social activities to one per weekend day and saying maybe when we get invited to anything so that I can really check our calendar first. With these few rules, life stays simple and fun and calm. And when it gets chaotic, we know what to do to balance it out again.

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