Consistency. It is recommended by all the parent experts. It is elusive to all the actual parents.
How are we supposed to act consistently every single day- regardless of whatever dumpster fire is taking place around us?
So many moms tell me that they want to be more consistent and that they try to be more consistent.
Let’s look at how routines can help make things more consistent in your home without adding a ton of more work for you, mama.
We are pretty good about doing the same things in the same order for the two most obvious routines of the day- getting up and going in the morning and getting ready for bed at night. Those consistent routines help our kids to know exactly what is expected of them. Knowing exactly what comes next can ease the stress of the unknown or uncertainty. Less stress equals more peaceful days for everyone in your home, right?
Use routines throughout the day to ease this stress and have a system you can lean on instead of just surviving each hour. Even better- write it down. Refer to your list instead of nagging. Kids can’t read? Make it visual. Visual schedules are great for all of us!
When else could you use routines? Or even mini routines?
How about at mealtimes? The steps may be:
- Wash hands
- Sit at the table
- Take some bites of food
- Ask to be excused
- Put your plate in the sink.
Do it the same way every time and you’ll find yourself nagging less for kids to do all the steps. A mom recently told me she is frustrated about kids not clearing their plates every day after meals. She was asking me about adding it to a rather elaborate chore chart and allowance system. You can do all that, or just make it a routine. This is what we do at mealtimes. Can remember the routine? Check the schedule.
Another good opportunity for a mini routine is after school. If some days you allow screen time before homework and some days you don’t- what happens? Every time you say “no”, you’re going to get pushback from your kids. So just choose what the best routine for your family looks like. It may look like this:
- Backpack emptied and hung up.
- Movement break.
Or yours may be totally different:
- Virtual school supplies are put away.
- Screen time.
I can’t tell you what steps to put in your routine. Every family is different. You get to choose what works best for your family. What I can tell you is to stick to your routine. Every time you deviate from it, you’re teaching your children that the systems in your home aren’t that important, so no one really needs to bother following them.
What other opportunities do you have for mini routines to ease your own stress and that of your kids?
- Pick up toys before bath every evening.
- Take your dirty laundry to the laundry room every Saturday morning.
- Write in your gratitude journal each night before books at bedtime.
- Play 5 minutes with mom, then play by yourself for 30 minutes.
Pick one time of day that is causing you all frustration. Sit down and make a routine. Include your children in setting the steps of the routine. Write it out. Make it visual- drawings, google image search, clipart, pixabay, whatever. Follow it. Reference it- “go check the plan”.
But what about days when you just can’t follow the routine because LIFE?! Then tell your kids that. “We normally would follow our after-school schedule, but today we are _________.” Be upfront and clear with them so they know the systems in your home still stand and are still important.
Start small. Add one mini-routine to your home today. And let me know how it goes!