Getting out the door on time can sometimes be one of the biggest challenges of the day! Lunches, water bottles, homework, brush teeth, class snack, jacket, hat, nap mats, loveys, bottles…the list of things to remember seems endless. One way to streamline this process is to create a routine or a process with a schedule. Repeating the same steps at the same time day after day not only helps make the daily to do’s easier, but it’s also beneficial for our kids too. Here’s why:
When kids know what to expect, it allows them to be comfortable. This is especially important for children who are prone to anxiety. Giving them the ability to anticipate helps keep emotions in check which can help curb tantrums.
Creating a daily routine where kids are involved in the process helps to establish autonomy. Repeating the same steps over and over allows your child to practice a skill until proficient. This creates not only a happy child, but a skill set and an efficient routine.
Getting into a habit of doing the same steps streamlines our days. Efficiency is created when there is a routine because you’re not reinventing the wheel every time. You save time by not having to think through what needs to be done, because you already know the steps that need to be taken.
So how do you start creating a routine for you and your family?
Look at your day start to finish. What is going right? Wrong? Identify which areas need some organization and start there. Is it impossible to get out the door in the morning? Or is it bedtime that’s slowing everyone down? Start with that area of the day. Make a list of the things that need to be done during that part of the day and then put those steps into order. For example: eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, gather bag, etc. Write down the order that flows easily and makes the most sense. Create a visual aid that will help everyone stay on task and keep track while you work through each part.
Having your kids participate in the process will make them feel like they are a part of the solution and make them more willing to help. Let them help identify what steps need to be completed for each part of the day. Ask where they think the best place for backpacks should be, if they should get dressed before or after breakfast, and when they should lay out their clothes. Allowing them to make decisions gives them a sense of control which makes them want to follow the new routine.
It’s important to set yourself and your family up for success when instituting a new routine. Do what you can ahead of time; pack lunches, fill water bottles, do a load of laundry, load the dishwasher, locate loveys, lay out clothes – anything that can be done the night before or in the hours before the busy time of your day will make your new routine smoother.
Bottom line; having a routine that the entire family participates in will make days and nights run smoother. And this created efficiency? Means more quality family time and less stress. Win!