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School Breaks: How Parents can Actually Enjoy Them!

stay at home mom independent play schedule school break

Most parents dread breaks  not only because it throws off routine, but also because there is pressure to plan enough activities to occupy their kids. Often, this anxiety holds us back from actually enjoying time with our children! However, that doesn’t have to be the case if you are able to balance playing with your child and  independent play.

After last week’s post, (How to be a stay at home mom, and keep your sanity) I got asked about how I apply the tips to my life. So I decided to share a sample of my daily schedule with my daughter to highlight how I use time limits to encourage independent play. The pink is the time we spend independently, where as the blue is the time we play together!


Morning I get my daughter dressed and ready first, and then I leave her in her room with some books while I brush my teeth and get ready (~20 minutes)
Breakfast This is her TV time. She gets about 30 minutes to watch TV while I get her breakfast ready, my coffee ready, load last night’s dishes and get any ingredients prepped (thawing) for meals later in the day.
Play time #1 We usually spend a good hour together. Some days we go out to the library or the park. Other days we just bounce around playing pretend and being silly. I make sure to turn off my phone and give her my undivided attention.
Snack time Snack time happens on our dinner table which is covered in canvas paper so it’s an activity in its self. To learn more about our table and how to set up your own, check out my post.
Independent play #1 I leave her alone for about 30-45 minutes while I tackle one of my tasks for the day.

Sometimes it’s meal prep, cleaning or just blogging.

Mama self help time #1 I make sure to take the last 10 minutes of independent play to do something I enjoy. For more information about self help, read my post about balance as a stay at home mom. 

I want to make sure I go back to her energized and not stressed

Lunch I involve her in making or setting up lunch.

It ranges from setting the table to spreading the peanut butter on her sandwich. I try to eat with her so that I can serve as a good role model!

Again we eat on my canvas table so there is an activity built in!

Play Time #2 This is the second block of time that I give her my undivided attention. During this time I try to have an activity planned that is educational.

Currently she is working on learning to use scissors so we do lots of cutting crafts!

Quiet Time/Nap Time Since we are at that stage where nap time looks like a thing of the past, I’m trying to implement quiet time. She gets the iPad for an hour and half in bed while I tackle a second group of tasks for the day.

Since I want her to still be learning while on the iPad I have deleted all video apps (i.e Youtube) and only have educational games. For a list of good FREE apps to download, check out my post.

Mama time #2 I make sure to take at least 20 minutes to decompress, and usually watch some quick TV. Netflix and chill!
Play time #3 This is the shortest of our play times. I like playing board games at this time because she is usually well rested and attentive.

We play for about 45 minutes together.

Independent play #2 I leave her alone for 30 minutes to play. I tend to get dinner ready or fold laundry during this time!
Dinner My husband doesn’t come home till later, so my daughter tends to eat before us.

During dinner I like to use our table to paint or revisit a book we might have read earlier.

Clean up We go upstairs to her room to clean up and get it ready for bed time together. This not only helps her transition into bed time, but also builds a habit of cleaning up before sleeping.
Bath Time and Bed Time My daughter takes about a 15 minute bath, before we read her a book and lay her down for the night.


I make sure that both my daughter and I take breaks from each other, so both of us can actually enjoy our time together. If you notice there is a good back and forth between us playing together and separately! Because I am not constantly with my daughter through out the day, I end up looking forward to my time with her! I believe this has led to a healthy relationship between me and my daughter!

How do you structure your day? Does this example help you?

4 thoughts on “School Breaks: How Parents can Actually Enjoy Them!

  1. Loved this break down! I’m a single mom and although I live with their family members the chunk of my time is still spent with my almost 3 year old and it definitely gets over whelming sometimes giving her that much attention. I hope to implement more independent play as the days go on and nap time seems to escape us.

    1. Oh wow! Let me know how it goes!!

  2. Love it! So simple and yet so effective! Thank u for sharing this with other moms!

    1. <3 your welcome

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