The family routines that work are the ones that have been planned for.
Planning is essential when it comes to creating successful family routines, and there are many aspects of this process that you need to be aware of...
That being said, let's take a deep dive into these steps in order to create amazing family routines!
1. Create a routine that works for your family
A huge part of creating family routines that actually work is making sure you are doing something your entire family will enjoy.
If it doesn't work for everyone, the result is at least one person will be unhappy with how things go each day/week/month within that routine.
The key to success here is finding what works for your whole family and sticking with it.
This might mean taking into consideration who likes what activities when you're planning out which ones should take place at certain times during the week.
For example, if Tuesday night is one parent's favorite time to play basketball after dinner but Wednesday afternoon was the other parent's preferred exercise time, they could switch those two days around so both parents can enjoy their time-outs.
The family routine that works for your family is the one that you should focus on, not what someone else thinks would be best based off of their own preferences.
This process might involve taking a little bit longer to plan out where certain activities are going to go each week or month, but it will definitely pay off in how happy everyone feels about these routines once they have been finalised.
Once you've found something that really works and want it to become part of your regular schedule, this step becomes even more important - consistency is key when creating successful family routines, however...
2. Be flexible with the routines as needed
As with many things in life, family routines aren't always going to go perfectly.
There will be times when something comes up that you just cannot anticipate nor plan for (a sick child who needs to stay home from school/daycare, a last-minute doctor appointment where your other children need to come along, etc.).
Or, maybe something was planned but one of the kids now doesn't want to do what they had originally agreed upon doing...
While it is important to make sure everyone feels like they can speak up if there's anything about any part of their routine that just doesn't feel right, there does need to be some flexibility built into your family's schedule.
That way, it doesn't have to mean that the entire day goes sideways because of a tiny hiccup in an otherwise flawless plan ;)
3. Give everyone in the family a say
While one person's opinion might carry more weight than that of another family member, the key to creating successful routines is making sure everyone feels like they have a voice.
Even if your child tends to be shy when it comes to things outside of their comfort zone, giving them an opportunity to speak up early on can make all the difference in how well-received any proposed plans are.
After you figure out what each day/week/month will look like within your routine and who gets which parts, give everyone at least 24 hours before any further changes are made so they don't feel like someone else just came along and took everything over without getting input first.
This step helps build trust with every family member involved - even those who don't like to speak up!
4. Reward yourself and others when goals are met or achieved
One thing that seems to be universally helpful when it comes to sticking with routines and making sure everyone's happy (because, let's face it - kids don't always make the easiest people to please) is rewarding each other for good behavior.
If your child or one of your children manages to get through a week without pitching a fit in public or throwing any tantrums at all, they can earn themselves "X" (now, we could make a load of suggestions BUT you know your child/children best and therefore, you are much more likely to know exactly what motivates them).
Bear in mind, this is not to say that every time someone's unhappy because something didn't go exactly how they wanted, you run straight out and get/make/buy them "X"... however, if things have been consistently going well/ in the right direction, consider rewarding them every once in a while.
If you have more than one child but only want to reward the behavior of one... well, there are plenty of ways around this..!
Maybe they can work together and earn something special as a team - or maybe it's time to give out some extra love/affection/whatever-you're-going-to-do based on who was being the best-behaved that day. It doesn't need to be anything big - just enough so everyone feels like they have been recognised.
5. Establish a bedtime routine
To a lot of parents, "bedtime routine" can be a bit of a sore subject but, whether we like it or not, a bedtime routine is an excellent way to end the day.
Take some time out of your evening before everyone heads off for the night and do whatever works best for you as a family - whether it's giving each child their own special "story-time" or letting them pick from handfuls of books they'd like to read...
There are countless ways in which families can make this part of their schedule work because there really isn't ONE perfect way to approach things here.
just remember that doing something at roughly the same time every single night will help little ones wind down and prepare themselves for sleep. This can be a complete game changer, especially if you do this... ↓
2. Create an evening routine that is relaxing for everyone
If you and your family are the type of people who like to keep busy, feeling relaxed at night can feel pretty foreign. We all work hard during the day so why is going from "work mode" straight into bed?
Well, if everyone is tired but no one feels ready for sleep it's going to be a battle every single time - and that will lead to more than a few sleepless nights ;)
The trick here is finding something calming/relaxing (for some families this might involve turning off electronics an hour before bedtime.
For others; watching their favorite show/movie together as they wind down) and sticking with it. Having a familiar routine helps little ones easier because they know what comes next and they know what is expected of them.
This isn't about making you or your family feel like there's some sort of "prison sentence" hanging over everyone's head every night - it just means that everyone knows exactly when things are going to happen so no one feels rushed into doing anything too quickly before bedtime arrives...
When the bedtime routine is over, encourage your child/children to take some time out by themselves... maybe they want to sit in bed and read for a while or maybe they just need an extra cuddle with Mummy or Daddy - whatever makes them feel safe and happy.
This will not only help the kids wind down but it will also give you time as parents to do whatever it is that helps you relax before bed.
Sure, some parents might not need this time but others will appreciate the extra "me-time" after a long day of taking care of everyone else...
3. Set up a morning routine to help your family start the day right
When everyone wakes up in the morning, parents can feel a bit of pressure to have everything ready for their little ones as soon as they open their eyes. This is especially true if your kids wake up at least an hour before any alarm clock goes off (ughhh..!)
As tempting as it might be, we don't want to just start throwing breakfast at everyone as soon as they open their eyes - that's not going to be good for anyone.
Instead, have a morning routine where you have everything ready so when your kids are up and about they can eat right away... This might mean setting the table or getting breakfast prepped the night before so it's easy to grab on-the-go, if needed.
5. Be sure to include time for YOU
As much as we want to do everything for our kids, this is just a little reminder that it's important parents (YOU) take some time out of your day just for yourself.
This might mean going on a walk or spending time at your favorite coffee shop with a hot drink and a good book... Whatever makes you feel re-energized so you can keep up the pace throughout the rest of this busy season in all areas of life...
We know you'll probably roll your eyes at this but that does not make it any less true: If you're not taking care of yourself, how can you take care of anyone else?
Coordinating your family’s schedule can be a huge challenge. Whether you are juggling work, school, extracurricular activities or just trying to get dinner on the table after spending hours in traffic getting home from an errand-filled day, it is no easy feat staying organized and keeping everyone happy.
But there are ways for parents to create routines so their kids don’t have meltdowns over what they are doing next. The key is finding something that works for each person involved in this hectic process of balancing schedules while maintaining some semblance of sanity.
We hope you find these tips helpful and we’d love to hear your feedback on what works for your family!