I think most of us know that routines help make our lives run smoother – that is, until they don’t. It’s perfectly normal to have to change things up as the kids grow; having to change your routine and cast off what isn’t working any more isn’t some failure on your part, just growing pains!
When I find myself in the Dark Pit of Parenting, I know that one thing it means is that we are in desperate need of some better routines for our family. Unfortunately this means we have to deal with the discomfort and discombobulation that comes with starting those new routines.
We, being creatures of habit, sometimes let unhelpful habits or routines sneak up on us, and then chaos descends. Somewhere in between scrambling to make lunches and digging through that basket of laundry for the fourth time we realize we’ve got to revamp our routines and come up with something better.
- Get inspired – when we most need a new routine is when it feels most difficult to come up with one.
- Be ready for some rough patches – new routines feel funky at first – they aren’t familiar or, well, routine yet. Know that this is the case. When it all feel weird just remind yourself that it’s just a beginning and it will get better.
- Plan around meals – We’ve all got to eat. And it happens over and over and over. (I know, this is a tough truth…) If you write down your meal times you can begin to plug in basic activities around those. This gives you something to “pin” an activity to (ie. We have a quick clean up before dinner.) You’ve got to get something pinned down to gain momentum.
- Be steadfast – Children often fight a routine for some time, testing out the boundaries of a new plan. If they are grousing about it, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing something wrong.
- Jump right in! You’ve got to plan a little and try a lot. Don’t get so wrapped up in planning that you never start. It will never be totally perfect and there will never be the perfect time to try your new routine.