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My kids don’t need a routine! We like to keep our schedule open for whatever may come our way, and this is what works for us!
Or does it?
After 14 years of being a mom, I can now look back at see that I have had seasons of both. Routine and no routine. And with all that trial and error I can positively tell you that my kids and our family as a whole, functions so much better when we are on a routine.
I can even tell you that we seem to be at our worst, when we are lacking routine. There are so many things that can throw off a routine. Things like a move, a parents job change, a new school, parents divorcing, a loved one dying. Many of these things are out of our control and just part of life. The key however is understanding that these things do happen and learning to pick up the pieces and start new again.
It is actually these life circumstances, among many others, that creating a routine for your kids is SO important.
Here is a list of the amazing ways a routine has benefited our family…..
Routines help kids to feel safe
Just like adults, kids like to know what is coming next. Predictability gives them a sense of security. Although we are all confronted with change daily, and that change is also a huge factor in growth. It has also been proven that keeping a child’s’ everyday tasks mostly predictable is a huge reason they are able to grow in other more important areas.
If there was ever a time for you to pour safety and security into your kids, now is that time!
Routines help eliminate power struggles
Who wants to be constantly nagging your child to do everything? There are so many things in your childs day that happen EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Things like brushing your teeth, getting dressed, turning off the TV or games to come to dinner.
If these things are done inconsistently or at different times, you will always find yourself in a power struggle because no one knows what to expect. However, if there are set times and expectations for these things, and you make them consistent, you stop being the bad guy and the nagging is greatly reduced.
Routines help kids to look forward to something
A perfect example of this in our house is with video games. I have two boys that if I let them, would play video games all day every day, no exaggeration! However, sitting in front of a screen all day is not good for anyone, especially for kids. That is why we have what we like to call “game time” in our house.
They get roughly two hours of combined TV/Video game time per day and it happens at roughly the same time everyday. This does have some exceptions and only happens after all schoolwork is finished.
But you know what…
They look forward to game time everyday. They even coordinate with their friends and share schedules together. This has also helped greatly with them getting their schoolwork done too!
I call that a Mom win!
Routine helps kids take charge
Kids naturally want to be in charge. If you think about it, that is really our goal as parents is to raise kids to are self reliant, productive members of society. Establishing a routine can help them practice these skills enough so that when they are adults they feel confident to do it on their own.
Kids who grow up in a house with very little structure or accountability tend to be more rebellious later in life and struggle with things like keeping a job and paying bills on time.
You might be asking….
Where do I even start? How does this even work?
How to create a routine that works for you
A simple way to start is to write down a rough draft of things that are necessities in your day, breakfast, lunch, dinner, showers, bedtime etc. Next list out approximate times these things should happen and how long they take.
You might be surprised at how little time you have left in the day!
Next, go in and fill in all the extra time. Things like school, outdoor time, chores, laundry, cleaning, sports activities, time spent reading or on a hobby (As many of you know, we homeschool so this may look a bit different for you) however, an example of this in my house is everyday my kids go outside after lunch. I let them play outside as long as their heart desires, but when they come in they all go to their rooms for what we call “room time.”
This is time that they can read, draw, play with toys, whatever they want but it has to be in their rooms and they have to be alone. I use this time to clean up the kitchen from lunch, and switch out and fold laundry. Or just sit in silence after a long morning of school.
I love this time to myself, and they do too! And because it has been part of our routine for so long, they come to expect it, crave it, and I never really even have to tell them to do it! They just know what comes next.
Here are some creative ideas to add to your routine…
- Time to be creative
- Outdoor time
- Craft time
- “Room time” / Time spent alone
- Time to Exercise
- Family Time/ Reading, playing a board game, do a puzzle etc…
These are just ideas, you need to add the details according to your families wants and needs. Also please remember that a routine can be continually tweaked or changed as you or your families needs change!
The main goal is just to establish some sort of routine and do your best to stick with it!
Trust me your kids will thank you in more ways than one!