Parenting with Intention: Creating a Daily Plan

Written by Kristin on October 11th, 2010

Balance, Cleaning and Organizing, Practical Home Help

I love organization. I love reading about it, I love looking at pictures of it, and occasionally, I am good at accomplishing it myself. I can do it if I try. I just, often, don’t. Or rather, I get overwhelmed, or distracted, or just lazy, and then I ignore what needs to be done. This has always been the case with me, but motherhood definitely makes it more obvious.

One thing I’ve been thinking about (for months now) is how I needed to revamp the structure to our days. I need to be more intentional about what we (and I) do, so that all the fun projects and ideas I have – as well as the chores – don’t get continually pushed off to another day (or totally forgotten). So many times I tell Emma “we can do that tomorrow” and then we never do, and she and I feel bad (I’m still mostly off the hook with the little ones, though I’m sure they’ll start holding me to my words soon, too).

Waaaaaay back in April, I posted about being more intentional about daily planning and scheduling, and I also brainstormed all the ideas I had about what exactly I wanted us to be doing. But then I was never able to make the leap and fill out a daily plan. Writing down exactly what comes when is apparently akin to scheduling dental work, for me. And so, here we are months later.

But! I had an epiphany last week, and it only took me another week to get it to fruition.  Progress! I realized instead of an hourly, do-this-now kind of daily schedule, what I needed was more of a collection of ideas. A guide, but with no particular order imposed. So I created a form with all the elements that I knew I wanted, bringing together various lists I had going, either in my head, on paper, or on my computer. I printed a bunch of them, and have them on a clipboard that I can carry wherever I want.

What’s on my daily plan page? A to-do list, with space for only 6 (!) things, including outings, that I want to remember and accomplish. A space to write in meal plans: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack (dinners I try to fill out ahead weekly, the rest kind of fall into place a few days, or hours, in advance).

I also created boxes for different types of activities I want to make sure we get to each day: independent play (things the kids do alone, by themselves), cooperative play (things they do together, for the most part, but hopefully without my constant assistance), and “projects together” (things I do WITH them, either one-on-one or as a group).  I also put a box for TV, so I can keep track of whose turn it is to pick, and what or how much they’ve watched (I limit it to an hour a day, sometimes less).

At the top right corner, I left a blank space big enough to clip on one of the Positive Discipline Tool Cards, which are kind of a cheat sheet/memory jog for various positive discipline strategies I am trying to work on. I’ve been trying to figure out how to use these cards, and I think this will be a great way to remember to look at them.

I also left some blank spaces, either for more activity ideas, notes, or to jot down quotes or funny things I want to remember. So far, its been working well. Some days I get to it more than others, but even if I haven’t filled out every box, the fact that its on the page is enough of a reminder. And never fear! There are plenty of days when we don’t get to many of the activities or tasks on the list. But then I can just circle it and transfer it to another day.  I think this should help a lot.

How much do you plan out your day with kids? Have you written out a schedule? Are you a list person like me? How structured are you, and how do you remember what you want to accomplish each day?


You can find Kristin over at Intrepid Murmurings, where she writes and photographs her attempts to embrace motherhood, nurture creativity, and maintain sanity while raising twin toddlers and a preschooler.

About The Author: Kristin

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You can find Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings, where she blogs about embracing creativity, urban homesteading, dairy-free cooking, twin-parenthood, and three amazing girls every day.

10 Responses to Parenting with Intention: Creating a Daily Plan

  1. Lauren  

    What a cool idea! I must admit I’m the opposite of scheduled. Sometimes I get inspired and try to hash out some master plan in a spreadsheet, but I’ve yet to follow one for more than 5 minutes. Maybe something more freeform like this would be manageable.

  2. Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings  

    Well, I have to admit that I have not stuck to it as much as I’d like, though its really easy and helpful when I do. I am picking it up again this week, in fact! I really feel a lot more calm and in control when I have a plan written down.

  3. TopHat  

    I think I really need something like this, but the thought of using up a lot of paper is a little much more me. I need to brainstorm a good alternative!

  4. Kristin  

    Yeah, I hear you on the paper usage. And currently my printer is out of ink, another problem!

    You could print two sided, and/or shrink it so you can fit two on a page, maybe?

    I still need something in front of me, though, not on the computer or Ipod/phone, because I get sucked into wasting time when I check those.

    You could also laminate one, use an “overhead” marker and wipe it clear each day! I like to plan ahead at least a few days out, though, and like having a record of past meals/activities to draw from, so I like to hold on to my old ones.

    Good luck!

  5. Melissa  

    This is such a great idea! Thank you for sharing – the picture is a big help, too 🙂

  6. Jen  

    This is great. I want to try this. I’ve tried schedules and I can’t stick to it. But rough goals might work. Thanks so much for including the PDF!

  7. Semi-crunchy Mama  

    What a great idea! I also struggle with organization in the way that I love it, but can’t seem to accomplish it. It’s become even more pronounced now as a mom of two.

  8. Terri  

    I love this! Got to print it out and try for sure. Interested in how you find the positive discipline cards too – they look good!

  9. Kristin  

    I like the cards, Terri! I think it is still helpful to read the book first (which I admittedly haven’t totally done yet, though I did take a class that covered it!) as it goes into more detail, but the cards are a great quick reminder of things to practice or keep in mind. You can also get the cards in “Ap” form for your iphone/ipod!

  10. Tory

    Love love love!!!! Thaaaanks! I need this! 🙂