The word “routine” often carries a negative connotation with it. It can make us think of something boring, overdone, stifling, and unpleasant.
It might make us think of our workday and how we’d rather relax in our pajamas than get up once again before dawn to shower and clock in at the office. Often, we don’t feel inspired by the idea of routine. Our minds would rather dwell on the novel and fun.
But for children, healthy routines are fundamental for emotional regulation and development. It helps their days (and, importantly, their parents’!) go more smoothly.
How to Establish Family Routines
Deciding to establish family routines can seem overwhelming. Life can feel so chaotic and busy that we often live by the seat of our pants. You might wonder how you’d even find time to plan a daily structure, much less follow one.
The good news is that it is possible.
Review Daily Schedules
You can begin by evaluating what needs to happen or occur in your family every day. Look at work schedules, school schedules, and other activities. Look at the mundane tasks of housework, meal prep, and shopping. Consider how your days flow, and if you’re happy with the way things are working right now.
Once you’ve done this, sketch out each day of the week on a piece of paper. Find ways to streamline tasks to avoid wasting time and creating chaos. Maybe this means using a slow cooker to cut down on dinner craziness or using grocery delivery services. Perhaps you need to set clothes out the night before. Perhaps everyone chips in to clean the house on Sunday afternoon. The goal is to find a way to have a predictable rhythm in your household.
Knowing what to expect helps to keep kids on an even keel. They need the emotional stability that routines offer. Routines mean that kids experience less anxiety, wondering what will come next. Routines help make transitions from one activity to another smoother.
Review Life Goals
It’s also essential to plan what genuinely matters to you as a family. What are your goals for your time together? What memories do you want to create for your kids? What values and attitudes do you hope to instill in them before they leave home?
Building meaningful activities that support these goals into your routine is also essential. Kids grow fast, and your time to establish deep connections with them will be gone before you know it. Perhaps you want to make sure you eat meals together every evening. Maybe you want to have Friday game nights together or Saturday hikes. Reading together is also an excellent routine to include. Holiday traditions can also fall into meaningful habits.
Create Meaningful Rituals
Meaningful routines, like daily routines, also support healthy emotional development in children. They help kids create meaning and purpose in their lives. They help build connections as a family unit.
Just as routines are suitable for kids, they’re also good for adults. Parents can experience calmer, more peaceful days when they have routines in place. There’s less chaos and less frantic, last-minute rushing. Daily routines lend themselves to creating meaningful routines that help your family bond.
Of course, having a routine in no way means that you can’t be spontaneous and have fun! Routines can open up room in your life for last-minute surprises and activities. Children thrive on small bits of the unexpected as well, so don’t feel like your routines have to be set in stone.
Does your family life feel chaotic and crazy? Do you think a routine might be useful for your kids? If you’re struggling with managing the daily tasks of a family’s needs, consider reaching out to my office for help. Together, we can make the path smoother. Contact me here https://www.new-perspective-counseling.com/contact/