This week, I wanted to go deeper into the nuts and bolts of setting up a smoother day-to-day experience in the home. Last entry, we talked about the importance of family rules, as a kind of stable, predictable structure that helps us and our kids feel more confident and relaxed. If family rules are the system itself, then routines are the little circuits that keep the system running smoothly.
We’ve all had the experience of the daily commute. Whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, after you’ve done it enough times, it goes by in a flash, leaving your mind some space and time to wander. That’s the power of routines. We all live with routines, and the more consistent the routine, the less thought and energy it requires. The less thought required, the more energy is left over to focus on other things. When we get our kids into a routine, the predictability produces less resistance, less effort, and less stress, giving us more quality family time.
So, routines help get the necessary stuff out the way without the pushback and frustration we (and our kids) might otherwise feel. It’s draining, after all, to reinvent the bedtime/mealtime/getting ready/getting home routine every single day! Plus, a routine your child knows gives them the chance to show a little independence, and that can go a long way.
It’s true that creating a routine takes some extra effort and planning at the beginning, but the time and peace of mind you save in the long run is worth the short-term hassle. The value and key features of good routines can be found in the following awesome article, which I recommend if you’d like to explore the subject further!