Could the following conversations have been taken from your home this morning or last night?
“Get up! GET UP! If you don’t hurry, we will be late for school, again. Don’t forget to brush your teeth, comb your hair, and wash your face! We do not have all day! Come on, Mom can’t wait forever. You are going to be late for school!”
Dad shouts from the living room, “It is time for bed, be sure to brush your teeth.”
“But Dad, I haven’t finished my homework.”
“What? Why didn’t you finish your homework?”
“You said I could watch television.”
“I did say that, but I didn’t mean all afternoon!”
Even hearing the conversations above can make us break out in hives for the fact that many of our homes may sound like this three to four times a week. As parents, we do not want to go through this every morning and evening, and neither do our children!
But how do we correct this ongoing problem in our lives?
Hold on, hold on! Before you dismiss this, by saying, “You do not know how many times I have tried the “routine” route (no pun intended) and it only led to more chaos.
Maybe so. But have you ever really sat down and thought about why you are creating the routine? For many of us, routines have come out of a sense of “the last straw." You are dealing with the craziness of your kids never getting up on time so you react by implementing a bedtime that is kept for four to five days and then you slip back to the same mindless threatening of throwing water on your kids to get them out of bed.
STOP the madness and let’s look at the benefits of a routine in your daily lives.
What are some benefits of bringing a routine into your family's life?
1. Your children get enough “shut eye.”
Developing a bedtime that is kept each night allows your children to get the sleep they need to properly function. Unsure on how much sleep they need? Check out this article from WebMD.
2. Stress is reduced for you and your children.
Wouldn't it be nice to experience less stressful situations than the ones above because the kids are waking up on time and there is time set aside for homework to be finished?
3. You are prepared for unplanned madness.
Developing a routine to your day, allows you extra time and flexibility for cranky mornings or those nights of extra homework.
So you may say, "Okay, I’m listening. But how do I go about developing my routine?"
Here are 9 guidelines that you can use to develop your family's routine.
1. Be realistic.
Allot for more time in certain areas like homework.
2. Ask around.
The best things are not taught. They are caught. Keep your eyes peeled for families that may already have a routine established and ask them what has worked best for them. But do not copy them exactly because your family will be different in their own unique routine.
3. Base it upon the uniqueness of your children and not your own personality.
Awaking one of our children in the morning is like raising the dead. He is not being disobedient. It is just hard for him to wake up, while our daughter gets up right away. So for our son, it would be setting him up for failure to place him on the same schedule as his sister. How do we get around this? I simply go in and wake him up five minutes earlier than his sister.
4. Include a time of weekly devotion.
Scheduling a weekly family time to read the Bible and pray will increase the probability of it actually happening. It is unifying for your family and helps communication with each other and God through prayer. It is an opportunity to share each other's heart and the heart of God through His Word, the Bible.
5. Be sure to schedule play time.
Give your children a short break (maybe 30 minutes) when they get home for them to let down in their own way before starting homework or chores. This may also include a snack time which may help with blood sugar and focus during homework.
6. Include the entire family in the process of developing your routine.
Getting input from each family member considers each person's schedule and needs.
7. Go over your weekly routine one day each week to prepare for the week ahead.
This could be bringing your family together on Sunday evening for five minutes to go over your upcoming week and make adjustments to the routine based upon the upcoming schedule and events you are facing.
8. Don’t drop the routine on the weekend.
We usually do well during the week, but then we let loose on the weekend, which blows the routine out of the water. You may give your children a later bedtime and a later time of waking up, but it is important to stick to the routine all week long.
9. Allow yourself to fail, and you will fail.
When we blow it, we sometimes have the tendency to give up, but DONT! You will fail, just expect it. But the next morning or evening, try again! If this is something you are starting for the first time in your home, it will be a difficult transition, but I promise you it will be well worth it!
Let us know what is working best for you! Share the greatness of what you have seen in your established routines. We are not to do life in isolation, but in community. We can all learn from one another's successes and failures.