Routines: A Way of Life

Ask yourself the question early after having children, “Do you want chaos or peace in your home?”  When you answer the question with the response “peace,” there is a lot of work to be done to prepare yourself and your family.

In the process of preparing for our day with two children, one five years old at the time, and the other two, I found our daily routine of getting up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, leaving the house for school, then getting to work on time, was so chaotic that by the time I got to work, I needed a Tylenol.  I vowed to do better the next day, but each day we repeated the same pattern of hurry up and eat, hurry up and tie your shoes, hurry up let’s get in the car before we are late!

The way our day started before establishing routines, went something like this…..alarm clock goes off, the 5 year old cries because he doesn’t want to get up!  The two-year-old is literally picked up, and everything is done for her to include,  sitting her on the “potty”, dressing her and sitting here in the high chair for breakfast.  My husband was usually asleep during the morning routine because he did not have to get to work until an hour later.  After being frustrated and almost angry with my husband for allowing me to do the total morning rituals and routines by myself, I cried out to God for help!

I am an educator by profession and learned that routines must be established during early childhood.  I learned that children need routine in their life for them to feel confident, safe and emotionally well adjusted.  I knew this, but when it came down to applying it in my house, it just didn’t happen.  After prayer and asking God to help, He revealed to me that I had all the tools needed to establish a healthy routine for my family.  All I needed to do was apply what I learned about working with my students, that it worked for my own children.  

It is critical to establish rituals and routines for children at an early age.  Examples of routines are things like meal time, bath time, bedtime, they should all take place the same time each day.  Children learn not to be argumentative or fussy when they know what to expect.  Once I figured it out, our five- year old began to get up without fussing or complaining, because I put him to bed the same time each night.  Our two- year old began to go to sleep easily and wake up with a cheerful disposition, as opposed to me having to literally pick her up.  She was happy to show her independence and do things on her own.  

My husband began waking up earlier and assisted with the morning routines.  It made everyone happier, especially me.  After we established the bedtime routine, we began to branch out with other routines like place your clothes in the dirty clothes hamper; pick up your toys after playing with them; and empty your own trash can on Thursday night because the garbage man was coming on Friday.  Once real school started for both children, a homework time was established.  There were no questions asked, both children knew that they were to begin their homework as soon as they walked through the doors.  We learned that if we needed anything to make our home more peaceful, we established a routine for it and reinforced that behavior until it became a way of life.

The routines helped the entire family to feel like a “family unit” rather than everyone running around, always feeling hurried, rushed, and frustrated.  Routines are so very important to your home and family and they must be established at an early age in order for there to be peace in your home.  Children learn what they live.  Ours grew into loving adults and for that I am thankful!

Leave a reply