Do the words daily routine seem boring to you? Are you worried that if you form a routine you won’t be able to be spontaneous? Do you think you will be tied to the clock? Many people are turned off by the thought of forming a daily routine for their family.
But today I will convince you that your family will benefit from creating and following a daily routine. Then, I will walk you through creating a customized daily routine that works for your family, so your family will thrive.
The Benefits of Creating A Daily Routine For Your Family
Study after study shows that children who grow up with daily routines benefit academically, physically, psychologically, socially, mentally, and any other …ally you can think of. I mean, just Google the benefits of keeping kids on a routine and you can create an endless list.
One benefit I see is that routine helps kids to feel STABLE. In times like we’re experiencing right now, kids want and need STABILITY. We all do.
In case you’re still not convinced, here are the top 10 Ways Daily Routines Benefit Families.
#1. People who live by a routine are happier.
#2. When you live by a daily routine, you are more likely to reach your goals than live on impulses.
#3. Adults feel a sense of purpose, and children feel a sense of security.
#4. People who live by a routine have less stress.
#5. Routines build stronger family bonds.
#6. Families who follow routines are more likely to pass on values and traditions.
#7. Families who live by routine get through the hard times a little easier than those who don’t.
#8. Families with routines have healthier habits.
#9. Children who grow up with a routine develop a sense of responsibility and time management skills.
#10. Last but not least, a routine promotes better behavior.
**Bonus: Predictability equals fewer tantrums, meltdowns, or room for chaos! Win, win, win:)
Daily Routines Vs. Schedules
What do they mean by routine exactly? Routines are a sequence of actions regularly followed. Routines are patterns and habits families use to manage their daily lives. Routines focus on how things get done in the family.
Schedules differ from routines in that they have assigned times. Schedules are usually a little more rigid. Schedules focus on how the family uses the clock to get through their day.
Moms who are looking to reach a higher level of organization master finding harmony in routines and schedules. Some parts of your day may need to be on a schedule while other parts can just be routine.
For example, the breakfast and morning routine may need to get done by 7:30, so your child can get to school on time. When they get home, homework and supper could be at the same time every day, but what they do with their spare time in between is the child’s choice.
Your Family’s Daily Routine
How is your family’s daily routine? All family routines look different because every family is unique. I can’t give you a routine to follow because each family is special, but I can tell you how to create a routine that works for your family culture.
In fact, if routine or schedule leaves a nasty taste in your mouth or triggers bad feelings, it’s probably because you’ve tried before to make your life fit someone else’s schedules and routines. It doesn’t work.
I will give you instructions as if you don’t have a routine in place, but no matter where you are with ya’lls routine, you can take this advice and start a routine or “beef up” what you already have going.
I’ll tell you upfront that routines take some effort to create and set up, but once you get them going, you will reap the benefits and see that the grind was worth it.
The family routine is something we can always be tweaking. I tweak ours probably 2-3 times a year. Again, everybody’s will be different. You may need more or less detail. Totally up to you.
Creating A Daily Routine That Works For Your Family:
1. Brainstorm a list of everything that must get done every day in your family. The things on this list should be daily must-dos. Just brain dump everything that needs to get done by the family in a week.
Mentally walk yourself through your family’s week and take notes. Consider the daily routines you already have in place.
It’s up to you whether you make one over-arching routine for the whole family or if each family member has their own schedule.
I want to encourage you to add daily read aloud with your kids and one-on-one time with your kids. These two pieces will strengthen your bond. Surveys show them to be 2 things kids remember about their parents after they move out of the home.
Try to keep your list anywhere from 12 to 15 items or fewer. Otherwise, it’s too much. Also, don’t include extra weekend activities. Use another calendar for that or make a separate weekend routine.
Here is a sample brain dump list of what needs to be done daily:
-Fix your bed
-Brush your teeth
-Brush your hair
-Wash your face
-JiuJitsu, Piano, Ballet
-Go to the library
-Take a bath
-Brush your teeth
-Read a book
-Put on night clothes
Other pieces to consider:
I wake up before my kids and follow my personal morning routine. I don’t include that on the Daily Routine For The Family, but you might. Also, I keep a daily To-Do list that constantly changes. Again, this stays separate from what I post for the rest of the family to see. That’s the flexibility of creating your own schedule.
2. Put the items in the order they need to get done each day. Take the time to put some thought into this step because this is what routine is all about.
Experts advise that you put the things that are most important first. The items that take the most energy should also be in the beginning of your day.
If you work from home, you will want to incorporate plenty of independent time and activities, so you will get your work time in. Every successful work-at-home-parent I know gets up before their kids and gets 2 good hours in for the Must-Dos. You can usually give your kids an hour of screen time during the day while you work, but more than that, and you will pay afterward. Ask me how I know! If need be, you work after the kids go to bed, too.
Design this in a way that works for your family. Some moms I know write the name of the family members beside the activity. If the kids are too young to read, you can consider using pictures. Take pictures of the children carrying out the procedures, print them out, and post them on a chart in the order you want them done. You will be very surprised at how young children thrive on using these charts. Some moms I know make a routine chart per child. What does your family need?
Some bullets have a routine in and of themselves. Teach these individual min-routines to your children. If so, focus on one section of the routine per week. For example, you may write morning routine on the chart. This could include: make your bed, get dressed, brush your teeth, brush your hair, and wipe down the sink.
Another example is a homeschooling schedule or routine. Our family homeschools. I will not overwhelm our Daily Routines Chart with the details of our homeschooling. I keep a separate schedule for homeschooling.
This system needs teaching until the children can take ownership of it. If the kids are not reading yet, take pictures of them doing each step. Then post the morning routine pictures in the order you want them done. Put these in the area where the child will perform most of the routine, so they can “read” it on their own.
DO NOT SKIP THIS PART!!! Let your children have input. The more they take part in creating it, the more they will buy into it! For example, they can pick the order of their morning routine. As long as it gets done, who cares what order it happens. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. For me, this is an area I want the path of least resistance. You?
An example of a Daily Routines Chart. You may or may not put times on your chart. That’s entirely up to what your family needs to succeed.
-9:00 Homeschool/Practice Piano
-12:00 Lunch/ Clean up
-Chores/ Walk dogs
-Play/ Mom does 1-on-1 with kids then To-Dos
-4:00 Leave to Extracurriculars
-Mom cooks/ Kids Screentime
-6:00 Supper/ Clean Kitchen
3. Post your Daily Family Routine somewhere everyone in the family can see it and refer to. You can post the main routine in a centralized area, and the mini-routines (morning routines, bedtime routines, breastfeeding schedule, homeschool routines…) in the rooms where those take place.
I highly recommend you go on Pinterest and search Family Command Centers. There is a wealth of information, and you will get some awesome ideas on how to display your family calendars, schedules and routines.
We found that hanging a dry erase calendar near our posted routine helps us stay on track for appointments, playdates, and other extras.
I wrote about 5 of the ways I save time in our daily routine here. If you have trouble getting it all done. That article can help you save time.
4. Have a family meeting making sure everyone understands their roles, knows what they need to do and sees their roles as reasonable.
Talk about the items that will happen around the same time. Other items might not happen at certain times, just in the same order.
Discuss how these routines will be part of your everyday life and how they will benefit the family.
5. Start practicing the routine. The newer you are to this give yourself more grace. Routines do not have to be rigid in their structure or military style. A family routine just lets everyone know the order things will happen on as many days of the year as possible.
The items listed on the routines are not the only things that happen in the family’s day. Other things can happen in between bullets, or you may replace certain bullets on certain days. A friend may call and say we’re headed to the park. You can be flexible, fun and spontaneous.
6. Every once in awhile revisit your family routines. Get input from all family members. Revise where needed.
Last year, I realized my kids and I needed a little more support, so I created 2 other lists to coincide with our routine list. I needed to be able to get chore and extracurricular ideas for the boys on days I didn’t have a plan. The chart below solved our issue.
If you need ideas for chores, go on Pinterest and search Age-Appropriate Chore Charts. You will get plenty of ideas and places to start. Again, all of this stuff has to be taught.
Give Yourself and Your Family GRACE
Do not be too hard on yourself or your family. Just because you post daily routines and schedules won’t make them happen. It takes practice. Sometimes, your family will get off schedule.
The less drama there is over the schedule, the more the kids will accept it. Say, “Oops. We got off schedule. Now, where can we pick up? Oh, the next thing on our family agenda is to walk the dogs…”
You can expect some resistance from yourself and your children. If there is a lot of ongoing resistance, revisit that part of your system and ask yourself if it meets the needs of all family members. Tweek or reteach where necessary.
Don’t expect to say anything once, and then it happens. Wahla! This is an ongoing process, and it is worth all the effort. You are preparing your children to Adult someday.
Routines are about having a roadmap to keep the family goals and family culture in place. It’s fun to take the back roads or scenic route every once in a while. But if you find yourself off of the routine too often, then chances are you’re allowing life to happen to your family. You want to decide how your family will live life.
Routines help with some of that.
Call To Action
Having systems and structures in place for your family will help your family to thrive. When there is chaos in a family, the first place to check is their systems and structures.
Routines and schedules are a big part of that system. I guarantee they are worth every minute your family devotes to creating them, practicing them, and then carrying them out.
If you have questions about your family’s routine, I’d be more than happy to help you. This is an area I’m passionate about. Email and let me help.
You can always use my 3 Day Challenge GOING FROM CHAOS TO ORDER to get your family’s routine created. Don’t stress. There are plenty of resources available.
Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours! Remember to have fun, laugh and give God the glory! I love you! SS