Ah the life of being a kid. Smooth sailing, playing with friends, doing whatever they want, not a care in the world right? While we look at kids lives, it’s easy to think “geez they have it so easy. They have no idea.”
Have you ever thought this before? Guilty! But actually, our kids feel a lot of pressure and stress in their lives due to what they pick up from us as parents and of course their peers, teachers, and other leaders. It’s easy for kids to get overwhelmed and have meltdowns. Having routines and structures for kids is what I believe to be the best thing you can do for your child. You’ve heard me talk about the importance of a good morning routine my previous post on establishing a morning routine.
How do you establish a regular routine for your family?
Make it easy. Think of all the things you typically need to get done on a day to day basis. Create a list. Make a list of all the things your kids enjoy doing. This is the time you present the routine. Sit the family down one evening and go through the day to day things that need to get done. Then go through your list of things you know your kids enjoy doing (electronics or watching t.v, talking on the phone, looking things up on the internet, playing with friends, reading, drawing etc..) The simplest way to get things done is to say “Okay kids, when these daily activities get done, then you can do the thing you really want to do.”
If your list of “things that need done” changes on a daily basis, maybe you get in the habit of putting up a new list every day on your fridge. Instruct kids to go to that list and pick out a few items each to accomplish, every day. You’ll feel better when everyone is on board with pitching in and getting things done. It’s a win win for both of you when they earn their right and privilege of playing a game or watching a show.
What about the Summertime?
Do you recommend having routine in the summer? We don’t have to be militant, but routine is important. Kids crave a sense of order and they do better when there is a certain order to their day. Your day will go more smoothly when there is some order. Structure blocks throughout the day where you can have some flexibility within those blocks. For example, from 11 – 12pm is movement time. Within that time, you could do a PE video on Youtube, jump on trampoline, go swimming etc.. 9-10am might be more school work stuff (reading, writing, history, etc..) There are many ways you can learn the basics – Podcasts for kids, YouTube science videos, a presidents puzzle or states and capitals puzzle, flash cards. There are different ways of teaching each topic. Have fun and be creative with it.
Bedtimes need to remain the same. It can be different here and there in the summer, but try to stick to a good bedtime. Keep that routine the same. You’ll ease stress and anxiety for the yourself as the parent. Bedtime can turn into a power struggle when it’s negotiable every night. But routines are important absolutely.
Bedtime routine can be a nightmare – Kids asking for water, getting up and coming into your room over and over again, older kids wanting to read late into the night…can you relate? Here are some strategies for making bedtime easier without a fight for all ages…
The requests..one more hug, drink of water etc…With your kids, revisit what bedtime looks like. If lights out are at 8pm, all of those things happen within the routine. Once you close the door, that’s it. You can leave a sippy cup of water nearby, but we don’t want to be in the business of responding all night long to requests. Parent’s get exhausted and end up dreading the bedtime routine. One thing that was recommended is that only one parent should do the routine instead of both parents. You’ll fill the child’s attention bucket better and will give you better results. There needs to definitely be a technology lights out time well before bedtime itself, but if older children want to read, you can decide how much time is appropriate before lights out.
What about on vacation?
Vacation is about the only time I don’t enforce a routine, unless I see my child’s behavior going way downhill and I need to bring them back. My routine might look like staying on top of eating a few healthy things when we’re on vacation, and getting our exercise in somehow. I know my kids mentally and physically do better on a vacation when they’ve been eating well and moving their bodies. When I plan vacations, I try to make sure these two needs are met in addition to good sleep. If I see that my kids are staying up too late, I do enforce a routine during vacation. It’s not fun having super cranky kids the next day if there is somewhere we need to be early.
I’m a stickler for getting up early and moving your body. Doesn’t matter the time or season. We tend to let ourselves go on vacation or holiday more than any other time. Why not make this time the time you commit to taking care of your body so you don’t have aches and pains and can truly enjoy your vacation? It’s really up to you if you want to build a routine into your vacation. I say, you know your kids best. What would support them in being their happiest selves while you’re away? Answers will come to your mind if you really want them to.
Are you a parent who struggles with routine? Do you need some help creating order within the family? Come get coached! I can help you develop more structure if that’s what you truly want. I can also help you overcome those mental barriers causing you pain and guilt around not having a schedule. It’s possible that whatever you’re doing right now, is just right for your family. Come get coached!
P.S. Right now I am creating a 30 day family success system that will create healthy, hard working, obedient kids in just 30 short days! Are you interested? If so, get on the waiting list and I’ll let you know as soon as this program launches. CLICK HERE for details.