Gone are the lazy days at the beach, Netflix family binge nights, late curfews, Italian ices, campfires, pool parties, and who can wait until next year’s infamous road trip to the family reunion?!
As summer draws to a close we become much more intentional about our time. The shift from the summer to back-to-school mode often brings additional obligations and responsibilities to juggle. For many children and families, the transition can be seamless. While for others, the road can be a challenge. If this sounds familiar, you may want to consider incorporating routines into your family’s life.
A routine is any consistent course of action that supports all members to accomplish everyday tasks. Creating a routine will assure family time together, proper rest, homework and chores are complete, and that “me time” actually happens. Adding family routines can help to strengthen connections and make family life flow smoother. For example, your family may have daily routines for school mornings, weekly routines for housework, and other routines involving holidays. A suitable routine must cater to the needs of all family members. And no routine is complete without including both family time and time for individuation. Through the practice of special family routines or rituals, we honor our cultural values, shared beliefs, and build a sense of belonging in your family.
Though they may kick, scream, and fuss about it, children & adolescents thrive with maintaining daily routines. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “children do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent.” A routine teaches them what’s important to your family and can foster healthy habits like teeth brushing and learning how to properly care for their own needs. Routines also create a sense of safety for your child because your environment becomes organized and predictable. In this same fashion, confidence and self-esteem are built through daily routines because your child will know what to do and what is expected of them. Lastly, maintaining daily routines can make it easier for children to deal with stressful events, like the birth of a new sibling, a divorce, the illness or death of a family member, or a move to a new city.
We, humans, are creatures of habit. So believe it or not, adults too thrive with daily routines! Routines enable us to be intentional with our time in order to focus our attention and efforts on what’s really important. When practiced, our routines can leave us feeling more present, productive, and replenished during the day. When life gets busy, maintaining daily routines help us feel more organized and in control, which lowers our stress level. Routines may serve as an anchor in a very chaotic world. In this way, they reduce feelings of anxiety, support us to cope with change and to cultivate positive daily habits of self-care.
Family routines boost positive rewards for children and parents alike and are a great way to help your family transition to back-to-school mode. Routines help us to calm the chaotic by being intentional, prioritizing our time, and organizing our family life. Here are 4 tips for rocking your family routine!
4 Tips for Creating a Family Routine:
Make it a family affair! Get everyone involved by helping your family to understand the “why” behind creating a routine. Highlight goals like becoming more efficient with finances, being able to spend more quality time together, or getting to earn cartoon time in the morning (Hey, incentives are important!). It may take some negotiating in the beginning.
Be realistic. Your family is unique with its owns needs. Avoid a routine that is too rigid or will take your family too far off of your natural flow. Remember that a routine is to help, not to become a hindrance. Celebrate and reward all of your family’s attempts. This will create motivation and momentum. Also, be sure to allow flexibility and cushion time for those unforeseen bumps that arise in a day.
Be Patient. Creating change takes time. Be willing to stick it out and find those things that work best for your family. Don’t judge or compare your family to another. Know that you are doing your best!
Be Consistent. Building a routine takes ongoing practice. There’s no such thing as perfection, on perseverance. Give your family time to adjust. Stay positive and keep at it. Eventually, it will become a flow.