By Daddy Nickell
When you have children you know the importance of a good routine. Children thrive on routine and they’ll come to appreciate it greatly, but it’s not always easy to establish a routine at home. With seven children of my own I have tried it all, and I have come to figure out 5 tips that help build and establish a routine. And without further adieu, here they are:
1. Consistency – Write down your desired routine and complete it consistently, as a family, everyday for a week. The first week might be difficult, but don’t give up – be consistent. At the end of the week you’ll be able to make changes and modifications where necessary, and you’ll likely be surprised by how well your family has taken to the routine. After the first week it’ll go much more smoothly! Things to ensure are part of the routine include: a designated wake up time and bedtime, hygiene schedules, healthy meals, family time, play time, down time and school.
2. Communication – Talk about the routine everyday in order to make sure all family members are on the same page. Let your family add to the conversation in discussing what they like, what they don’t like, what works well, what doesn’t and why. Finding a routine that works for everyone is key to the success of your routine. So give every family member a chance to communicate in order to be sure everyone’s needs are being met by the routine you’ve created.
3. Organization – Be as organized as you can when it comes to your routine. Make sure homework is complete in the evenings, projects are ready for transport to the car before going to bed, everyone has what they need to leave the house, etc. We use a large family calendar wherein we write in big projects, happenings and the daily schedule of activities as well as a large white board where we write important reminders, so we don’t let anything fall through the cracks or ruin our routine.
4. Schedule – In our home, everyone looks at the calendar, discusses it, adds to it, and talks about their day, after school events, upcoming weekend events, family nights, and after school sports. Use a calendar and teach your children how to use it, too. If they know what the calendar means they’ll likely ask you to add their important events, activities and ideas to it. Don’t forget to allow time in the schedule for bumps in the road. Your routine might be bumpy every other day, and it’s important to plan time for those bumps in the schedule and make room for adjustments, too.
I know routines have the tendency to be rigid, but you can’t forget to have fun – be a family, be supportive, be funny, smile; life is short, enjoy the moments of chaos, and grow together.
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of 7, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gifts and apparel, and the DaddyScrubs blog where he covers topics about parenting all from a Dad’s perspective.