Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Daily Grind: Having a Routine

 photo source: DHDesign

Do you have a daily routine?  When I worked full-time for an industrial supplier, I worked in the credit and collections department.  Everyday I got up at the same time, got to work at the same time, ate lunch at the same time and returned home at the same time.  While at work I knew exactly what was expected and when things needed to be done.  When I became a stay-at-home mother four years ago, I really wanted to have a good schedule for my daughter.  After all, I was used to having a routine at my secular job.  

But they don't tell you that children set their own schedules and you can only guide them.  Well, the scriptures do remind us that children are like arrows that need to be carefully aimed (Psalm 127:4).  So I can't say I didn't have any warning.  I just thought it might be easier.  Boy was I wrong!  

Routines have pros and cons.  Starting my children on a routine early on, helped me know what was going on with them and what to expect.  When they were little babies and crying for no apparent reason, routine allowed me to know it was time to feed them, change them or put them down for a nap.  Having a routine, gave me a sense of control (because we all know I have control issues!)  It's not only good for me but it's also good for my kids.  They know what to expect.  They aren't left wondering when they are going to eat, when it's time to go to bed, when it's time for Bible study.  Children are happier knowing what comes next.  It gives them a sense of security and understanding.  Why do you think kids like to read the same book 100 times?  Or watch the same movie 50 times?  It builds their confidence and makes them feel secure.

But having a routine can have it's drawbacks.  Both of our children go to bed between 7-8:00 each night.  When we have worship services on Tuesday night at 7:30, my kids are exhausted and grouchy.  Our children sit with us during the service so we strive to keep them quiet and teach them to be patient and listen at an early age.  But when they are tired and just want their beds, no amount of "shhh-ing" will keep them quiet.  So I end up in the back room until Hunter falls asleep.  When we go out of town, Hunter has a hard time sleeping.  He LOVES his bed.  And when we are out of town, he sleeps in a pack-n-play.  Not the most comfortable thing, but I place his blankets and stuffed animal from home inside to give him a sense of security.  Nevertheless, around 1 a.m. he's crying and awake.  He doesn't want to sleep in that thing and he ends up in our small bed.  We are not co-sleepers in our family (I'll tell you about that another time, but feel free to share your experiences in the comments.) and I don't sleep when my kids are in the bed.  So I get up in the morning grouchy.  It's time like this, that make me second-guess our routine and schedule.  

In the end, I have to say having a routine works best for us.  While it's not as strict as when I worked outside the house, we do have a semblance of a daily routine.
  • Up and at 'em around 7:00-7:30.
  • Breakfast and check emails.
  • Homeschool for about an hour reviewing the appropriate subject for the day.
  • Snack time around 10:00.
  • "Storytime" and playtime
  • Lunch time around 12:00
  • Hunter gets a nap around 12:30-1:00 (he'll sleep for 3 hours)
  • Haylei and I have "quiet time" until 3:00 (I blog, read, have personal Bible study time)
  • Snack time around 3:00 and read a Bible story with the children 
  • When the weather is good, we all go outside to play for a couple of hours
  • Start supper around 5:00
  • Baths and bed time around 7:00-8:00

I try to keep up with housework throughout the day, doing something different each day of the week to keep the house in order.  But I'm not the best housekeeper, I'd rather cook, create recipes and play with my kids.

What about you?  Does a routine work for you?

4 comments:

Sarah said...

I need a schedule. My children are more at peace with a routine as well. When our first was little we would stick to it strictly ("we have to leave NOW so she is in bed at...)...but now after 3, we have learned to go with the flow a bit more. We do end up missing out on some things because of the bedtime we set but it works for us.

kat.trull@yahoo.com said...

We've always HAD to have a schedule!!! Sure it gets interrupted here n there, but we try n get back on track asap because it completely throws us ALL off!So I totally understand what you mean bout it being both a good and bad thing...Dylan has always gone to bed btween 7:30 and 8:00...as a matter of fact I remember even when he was very small on more than one occasion we would be watching a movie or something n round that time he would ask us to pause the movie for example n say I'm ready to go to bed...not so much now that he s older but I always thought that was crazy what kinda kid ask to go to bed..haha. He is home schooled also so a good routine is crutial to our accomplishing everything we have to get done in a day..school, areans, the house, study, meetings, dinner..its a must. We are VERY off our schedules at the moment with moving etc. and I'm feeling a lil stressed...n like I dont ever get what I need accomplished completely...much happier with a good routine, think as a family we would all agree.

Mandy's Life After 30 said...

I definitely thrive on a schedule. It can be flexible but I know that my daughter and I prefer morning outings and activities. And that I need to be home by 1:00 p.m. so I can feed my two year old and put her down for her nap by 2:00 p.m.

Even though I am a stay at home mom and I could stay up late or sleep in late, I try to keep my husband's scheudle so that we go to bed at the same time (9:30 p.m.) and wake up at the same time (5:45 a.m.). It makes for a happier (and more intimate) marriage, that way! :-)

I think kids do need structure and starting a schedule early in life helps prepare them for school, college, and work in the future....

'Becca said...

It really helped me when my son was a baby to understand the difference between a SCHEDULE and a ROUTINE. A schedule means doing things at certain times. A routine means doing things in a predictable pattern. We had a routine, but only a few things had to happen on schedule, like church. When I went back to work, we left the house at 9:00 whether he was awake or asleep (I'd just stick him in the sling carrier sleeping) unless he needed to nurse right then, in which case we'd leave a little later. His sitter was semi-flexible about what time I picked him up, and my boss was flexible about what time I worked as long as it was the right number of hours per week. In the evenings, he nursed when he was hungry and slept when he was sleepy, until my bedtime when I expected him to sleep unless nursing. (We did co-sleep, so I didn't have to be fully awake to nurse him!) I worked in all my cooking, eating, housework, etc. around his nursing and needing to be held. I ate dinner and one snack every night, but I was flexible about which one I ate first depending on when I had time to cook. That's what worked for me!

We had to have a firmer schedule when my job went from part- to full-time just after he turned 4. It took some adjustment, but a year later both of us predictably wake up at the same time every day (including weekends) and he usually gets sleepy by bedtime.

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