What Does Routine With Kids Look Like?

In my last blog, I wrote about how I’m focusing on 4 priorities in our lives right now.  They are:

  1.  Foster an environment for our family that is God-centered, peaceful, and joyful.
  2.  Develop and implement a routine for myself and our children, and support Mark in his own routine.
  3.  Develop local relationships!
  4.  Finish my associate’s degree
 
 Today I want to chat about #2 – Routine.

I believe routine is critically important raising kids!  Without a semi-predictable routine, it’s very hard for kids to feel settled.  I mean, if you think about it, we have access to our calendars, we make the plans, and we know every day what is planned for the next day.  For the most part, we are in charge of our lives and our kids just do whatever is on the docket for each day.  When the day’s plans change frequently, or when every day is different than the one before, it is very hard for kids to feel like they have any kind of control over their lives.

When planning out a routine for children, there are a few key things that I think are important to keep in mind.  First of all, the routine should be simple and age-appropriate!  If I tried to get my kids to stick to a complicated routine that involved a lot of things that they can’t do yet, the routine will fail.  Second, a routine should be flexible.  Clinging to tight to a ridged routine will make everybody stressed and trapped. On the flip side, having a healthy structure will feel freeing (just like a good budget, but that’s another post!).  Last, a routine should be easy for children to understand.  The more simple the routine, the easier it will be to understand, but it can also be conveyed in ways that help kids understand (for example, with pictures instead of words for non-readers and as few words as possible).

If you’re feeling inspired to work on a routine for your children, here are some examples of some ways we’ve incorporated routines in the past.

 This was the first routine chart we made with Eliza when she was 2 1/2! We took photos of her doing each of these things, printed/laminated it, and kept it on the refrigerator. She loved it!
I made this one to help Eliza and Judah become more independent with their bedtime routine.  They can flip each card over when they’re done, which is fun!
This is Eliza’s waking routine.  I give her a new one each week and she checks off each thing as she completes it.  Pretty basic, but she likes the step of checking things off.  🙂
I just made this yesterday, and I’m pretty excited about it!  It helps teach the kids the days of the week and rhythm of the days, as well as gives them an idea of what to expect that week. Thanks to my friend Jenn for the idea!
Lastly, this is the new routine that the kids and I wrote up (planning on doing a pictorial chart on the wall):
– Wake up, get ready (Eliza’s waking routine, boys just get dressed)
– Breakfast together
– Devotions with kids (mine are done before breakfast)
– School time with Eliza (both kids in the fall)
– Playtime
– Lunch together 
– Naps for Caleb & Avigail
– School time (if more time is needed to finish)
– Playtime
– Dinner together
– Family time (we’re trying to do walks/bike rides in the summer)
– Bedtime routine & Bedtime
Is establishing routine hard for you?  Easy?  What kinds of things do you incorporate into your routine?
Have a wonderful weekend!
~ Judy

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