Having a simple routine seems near impossible for many. Don’t worry Mama, I totally get it!
Having triplet girls as our first babies was a shock. The only way for us to stay semi-sane, with the busyness all around, was to have a routine that worked for us. However, it wasn’t easy, with so much information and routine ideas I genuinely didn’t know where to start.
If you know me, I always emphasise that no family routine can be the same. Each routine must be personalised. Why? Because every family is different. Instead of giving you a routine, I am going to give you all the information you need about routines so you can start planning your perfect family routine.
In this post you will learn
- What is a family routine?
- What are the benefits of a consistent family routine?
- 3 reasons why you may be struggling with your routine
- 3 top tips on creating a lasting family routine
What is a family routine?
Though the term family routine sounds super fancy, it really just means how you as a family organise yourselves and your day. It is the repeated actions you do on a daily basis involving 2 or more family members. A family routine is a simple schedule that allows you to get things done, have fun and complete tasks that are important to you all.
Simples right? But is it really necessary I hear you asking? Well, let’s look at a few of the benefits of routines.
What are the benefits of a consistent routine?
Routines are not only beneficial to the parent, because let’s face it, who doesn’t look forward to nap time or quiet time? But it has great benefits for your child too!
1. Routines promote better behaviour
Research has shown that consistent routines can improve your child’s behaviour. Instead of arguing with your child to get their shoes on to go outside, if they know the routine is to go outside as soon as they finish lunch, after time, they will get their shoes on without a battle. Why? Because it is has now become a habit.
Furthermore, we all know the struggles of a sleep deprived, cranky child, right? What if they had a set nap time. (I call these anchor points, you can read more here). The behaviour that comes with a tired and over exhausted child will stop once they are napping at the correct time of the day.
2. Routines increase family bonding
In a world of busyness, it is so easy to be in the same house yet spend little quality time with each other. Routines allow us to get to know our children, build those positive relationships, have fun, exciting and educating conversations. It brings families together.
Whether it is sitting around the dinner table have a chat, going out for family adventurers or having weekly movie nights, routines help to make this a reality rather than an idea that never comes to fruition.
3. Routines provide safety and comfort for your child
Believe it or not, knowing what to expect actually helps your child feel safe. Studies have shown that a regular, consistent bedtime routine can have a profound affect on your child’s quality of sleep and quantity of sleep.
4. Routines can help with your child’s social-emotional and academic development?
“When (children) are unhappy, insecure or unsure of their environment, energy goes into dealing with that, and not into learning,” she told Reuters Health.
Creating a routine that provides security, fun, exciting activities, and a chance for parent and child to bond and grow together, it will have a knock-on effect on your child’s desire to learn and grow. Science also proves this.
How do routines help you as the parent?
1. Routines help you feel more confident
We all know the stress of having your child tantrum in the middle of a public place. Little brings more shame and embarrassment. By having routines and teaching your child the routine, the chances of such epic stand offs can be significantly reduced once you use phrases such as
“In 5 minutes, we will be going to the park”
“Once you finish your dinner then we can play with your cars”
2. Routines give you the time for some self-care
24 hours just doesn’t seem like enough time for us busy Mamas, but by having a routine, you can schedule in the time you need for yourself, to do the things you love. Read that book, start a new hobby, take a soak in the bath.
How to create a family routine
* Identify what you need in to include
It is so easy to fall into the trap of over-packing your routine. Make a list of all the things you would like to do in the day and then ask yourself, is this really necessary? Do I need to do this daily? Check the free Routine Trello board for routine activities. Once you have your final list, then you can begin to put this into your daily schedule.
* Set anchor points
By anchor points I mean the things in your day that should be set and should rarely be moved unless circumstances and your season changes E.g a child drops a nap, or gets older, goes to bed later or starts school.
The 3 main anchor points are 1) naptimes and bedtimes 2) Meal times 3) Family times
Decide what time of the day it is best to have these activities. There is a knack to finding the best times for your anchor points and I speak about it in depth in the Routine Course for the Busy Mum
* Discuss and agree on your routine
Starting a routine can e challenging, starting a routine with your family not on board can be near impossible. Instead of telling your family the new changes, include them in the changes. Call a family meeting and ask them what they would like to do. This works especially well with older children. If they have things they look forward to in the new family routine, they will be more likely to co-operate and embrace the new changes.
* Complete your schedule
Now you have all the pieces to the routine jigsaw puzzle, now it is time to fill in your schedule. Need a schedule? Download the FREE editable schedule here. This may take a little bit of time, and some rubbing out and moving around so I suggest writing it in pencil at first.
Why is it hard for me to keep my routine?
The reality is anything that is new is difficult at the beginning. Like learning to walk, learning to drive, learning to cook…. And learning to be consistent with your routine.
“Have patience, everything is difficult at the beginning” Keval Parikh
Don’t be too hard on yourself. There are a few things that you can do to help you stay consistent.
First, find an accountability partner. This person should know your plan, can help you with planning your routine and help you to stay on track whilst giving endless encouragement. Don’t have anyone? I am here to help, book with me here.
Second, work on only 1 area t a time. You may have a beautiful routine on paper, and be excited to jump all in, but the likelihood is you will become overwhelmed, frustrated and more likely to give up. Focus on one area at a time and do it really well. Once you have mastered that part of your routine, focus on another area. I recommend starting with your anchor points. E.g make sure mealtimes and bedtimes are down to a T before adding in something else to work on.
Third, Reward yourself! In the book The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he talks about the habit loop. In order to keep a new habit going, it is important to give yourself rewards so that you want to do it again… it’s just a human thing. Once you have nailed something for the day, reward yourself. Maybe a bubble bath, a stroll, read that book you’ve always been meaning to read. You deserve it Mama. Creating and being consistent with a routine isn’t easy, but it definitely is worth it!
The last thing you should know about family routines
Family routines benefit everyone. No one loses out! Keep your routines simple, focused and enjoyable. Don’t give up, it will be challenging at first to create your family’s routine, but consistency, determination and grit will get you there. Once you have nailed tour routine, you will begin to think how you ever survived without it.
Do you have a family routine?
Let me know in the comments below, if having a routine has helped your family and how.