By Joey and Carla Link
July 7, 2021
We often talk about routine on the Parenting Made Practical social media sites. Nothing is predictable when you have a houseful of children, regardless of their age. Every day can be disorganized, hectic and tiring. There is no sense of accomplishment, except Mom made it to bed at the end of the day and all the kids are still alive. A good routine will bring stability, security and calm to your household. Children function much better when they feel secure. When you have a good routine going in your home for your kids, you will notice how much better behaved they are and how much less stress everyone in the home is feeling. If you have children who seem to be anxious or fearful all the time, if a routine helps eliminate stress, wouldn’t that be a simple thing to do to help them relax? If you have a strong-willed child, believe it or not, a routine will help manage their behavior. They will initially fight it, but once they decide to stick to it, their behavior is much more manageable for you and them. In last week’s blog we talked about having consistent bedtimes for all your kids and teens. Studies show kids/teens who are getting the right amount of sleep are more content and productive. Everyone wants to stay up late during the summer months. Let that be a treat rather than an everyday occurrence. What does a routine look like?Make a list for each of your kids (7 yrs. and under) of the things they like to do, need to do (chores) or can do.
- Then make a master time sheet dividing the day into 30-minute segments.
- Label these segments with categories such as Quiet Time (personal devotions), morning chores, breakfast, outside time (backyard, park), lunch, naps or quiet/rest time, swim time or inside activity due to heat, play alone time, supper, daddy time, baths/get ready for bed, story time and bed time.
- It you break up your time with things the kids can do together and things they can do alone, you will be giving them needed space from each other.
- When they are together, they will need to be supervised by you because for whatever reason, when kids are together, especially siblings, trouble is a constant companion.
- To have a routine like this on paper, it shows you when and where you can do your own chores, laundry or have your own quiet time.
- Once you make out your master list, slide the kids’ names in where they fit. You can combine half hour segments into longer time frames for activities/naps/rest time that need them.
- When your kids have “playing alone time”, look at the list of activities you made for them and slide an activity in. With kids 8 yrs. and above, they may choose what they want to do with this time.
- Your preteens and teens can make their own routine, but have them write it down on paper and give to you each day/week.
- If they are killing time, they will spend too much of it on their phones or other digital entertainment. Too much of this entertainment makes kids of all ages edgy and they are easily provoked.
Do you have questions about getting a routine started? Our book, “Why Can’t I Get My Kids to Behave?” has a chapter on what a routine looks like for toddlers and preschoolers. If you have a baby and he/she is on a routine like the one talked about in the book “On Becoming Babywise”, you can work your younger kids’ routine around the baby’s feed, wake, sleep schedule. The “Mom’s Notes” presentations “Structuring Your Child’s Day, Pt. 1” and “Structuring Your Child’s Day, Pt. 2” describe in detail how to get a flexible routine going in your home. Please get both presentations as it is actually one talk that was cut in half. At the end of the Notes/PDF version you will find a family of 4 kids where we show you how to blend all their activities into one routine that works for the entire family. “He must be one who manages his own household well,keeping his children under control with all dignity.”I Timothy 3:4