Let’s take the time to review our family routines and improve them whenever possible to make sure our days run more smoothly. Routines give our children a sense of security, predictability and independence. Routines help everybody in the family what needs to be done, who should do what, when things need to be done, in what order things need to be done and how often each activity needs to be done.
Our routines should prevent our daily quarrels to get out of the door, to get kids to do their homework, to transition from one activity to the other, etc.
The best way to establish routines is to set the expectations and involve the children in how things should flow. The more involved they are, the more committed they’d be to follow them.
The first routine I’d suggest to work on is the morning routine. The way our mornings go usually determine the way our day will flow; so this is a vital routine for all of us. These are my tips to make sure mornings run smoothly:
- Write them down – children can help making a visual representation of their routines. For younger children, your child and you can create a chore chart using pictures of the different steps that need to be followed. For older children, they can handwrite or type and print, their own routines.
- Do as much as you can the night before – this includes preparing snacks for school, setting up the breakfast table, preparing backpacks, choosing the clothes for the following day…
- Wake up before your kids – give yourself time to start your day without rushing. Take a shower, meditate, write on your journal, review your agenda for the day, have a coffee… whatever you need to do to start your day peacefully and calmly.
- Wake them up with plenty of time to go through their routines – we don’t want to wake up our kids yelling at them to ‘get up, rush!.’ We all need time to wake up, even early risers. Make sure you take a few minutes to connect with them in the morning to welcome the day, and remind them to follow their routines.
- Be consistent – if every day there’s a different routine, it’ll be impossible for our kids to fulfill our expectations for each particular day.
The next routine I would work on is the bedtime routine. Our bedtime routines should be calm, relaxing, loving and smooth. Later this month, I will give tips about how to set up a good bedtime routine that fosters connection, good sleep habits and peace.
Our schedules should allow for certain flexibility, for family time and connection, and for unstructured play for our children. Not every minute of every day should be scheduled.
What are the most challenging parts of your day with your kids? What routines will you work on first? Let me know how it goes!