The Value of Routines
Up creeps the morning sun and the loud buzzer announces the start of the day. It's 5:30 am.
Having a routine in your household can look very different for different families. Regardless of how you plan your routine, creating and planning different kinds of activities that occur at the same time each day can be very helpful.
Intentionally planning the structure of your days to make them organized and predictable for you and your children can bring a sense of calm and order to life. As a working mom, I am not responsible for planning activities for the bulk of the weekdays, but there are precious times with my son during the evening that are much better if I plan them. There are also those busy mornings and full weekends that can be challenging without a plan.
When planning your routine, here are some things to consider:
What time will your day begin? Waking up before your children can be very helpful in setting the tone for the day. Being dressed and ready to go when they wake up keeps you calm and able to help them wake up and get dressed. Before they wake up, are there things that you can do for yourself to focus your intentions and purpose for the day? Sometimes prayer, listening to inspiring music, exercise, or reading (even if for a very short time) can provide that quiet moment just for you before family members need mom!
Are there checklists that could be helpful in planning your day? Inspired to put this kind of organization to the test, I've created checklists of things that need to happen during the morning and at night. This way, I have less to remember and more to do. Although it may seem silly, I have broken my morning into short bullet points, and I just fly through my list. I keep a copy in my bathroom and downstairs in a binder. Examples of things on my list include: shower, tidy bathroom, make coffee, heat breakfast, etc.
What about a checklist for children? My son is just getting old enough to understand the morning and evening routine. I have been reading up on toddler responsibility charts and cue cards. I think this can be an invaluable tool for children, placing the responsibility and reward on them instead of the parent.
Because weekends are different from weekdays, have a different routine for different days. This could also apply to moms who work part time, or have childcare help on some days but not others. Sketching out a schedule for each "type of day" in your life makes the most of your time, and never leaves you with your husband or child wondering, "Now What?"
Even when you're tired, stick to the plan. In the evening as I've just pulled the covers over Mr. Cheeks, all I want to do is collapse! If I find some of my inner Superwoman, though, and do the dishes, pick up the toys, and set things out for the next day, my days are so much smoother. Waking up to a clean house with everything prepared allows me to even enjoy a delicious breakfast with my son.
So how about you? How have routines helped make your days more calm? Are there any of you that prefer not having a routine?