Today I was looking at my calendar and I realized there were exactly 4 weeks until school starts for our family. While I fully intend to soak up every single second the less scheduled, homework free, outing filled summer has to offer; the rapidly approaching start of a new school year gets me excited to share about one of our families most valued tools for clarifying our chaos…routines. Honestly, I love routines all year-long, but there is something I find especially comforting about examining and adapting our most important family management systems as we transition away from the relaxed pace of summer into the busyness of the school year.
Over the next few weeks, Kellie and I look forward to sharing more detail on the routines that have benefited our families. We plan to post on child directed routine sheets, meal planning and preparation, discussion points to talk with your children about the importance of routines, chores and more!!
One of the things I love about routines is that they have been instrumental in helping my children successfully master necessary life skills. Creating morning and evening routines revolving around self-care, proper nutrition and simple organization has increased their personal sense of competence in each of these areas. Also, I feel reassured knowing our current routines are helping me raise children who will know how to properly care for themselves as young adults.
Routines have also helped alleviate power struggles in our home. For example, my husband used to have a very difficult time getting the kids to choose snacks other than crackers and yogurt after school. They would want to eat only these items and would complain when directed to other choices. So that led us to create an after-school snack routine. They could choose one “non-produce” item and after that it was two fruits or veggies before they could have another. Once this family policy was put into place we kept it clear, predictable and enforced. It was just a short period of adjustment before our children began, for the most part,to quit protesting and accept that this is just how afternoon snack time works in our home.
Another benefit of routines is that they help my children feel a sense of security. There is so much that happens in their daily lives that they have no control over… will they have their regular teacher or a substitute at school, will there be conflict between kids in their class or at daycare, will we have an unexpected errand to run after work or school, etc. Having regular routines in place at home allow my children the opportunity to predict exactly how certain parts of every day will go. For example, my kids and I start every weekday morning eating breakfast together. This provides a reliable moment of closeness between the four of us before we all go out to deal with whatever the rest of our day may entail.
Finally, everyone in our house has profited from having routines in place for things like chores and meal planning. Involving my kids in these activities has helped teach them responsibility and the valuable lesson that in order to help family life run smoother, a little preparation and a lot of teamwork go a long way.
After reading the above I am sure you can see why I am excited to spend the next few weeks posting on routines. Kellie and I look forward to sharing ideas with you to help instill a sense of order and clarity in the midst of everyday chaos.