I know, I know it’s so “teacher” of me but as I learned how to be a mommy to our first-born Mattina, I realized that a routine was necessary to her development and my sanity.
So why have a routine? A routine helps ensure that the child gets a variety of activities in a day that will is out, you’d still have a hand in the activities your child engages in. Having a routine also helps the child learn how to transition from one activity to another without having to feel upset that, for example, Play Time is over. It helps the child realize that there is a time for everything and she can do what she enjoys at another time. A routine is also for mommy (or the caregiver) to schedule time for herself. Like a To-do list, it helps get things done and allows for both the child and mommy to have the rest they need.
When creating a home routine, think of your child and your family dynamics. It varies per family and not one routine is best for everyone. Let me share with you some things that guide me when I make our home routine and see if it works for you too.
- Sleeping patterns– Take note of what time family members usually wake up, what time the kids nap and for how long and what time the kids feel sleepy. For us, our Wake Up time is based on our scheduled activities for the day. Nap times are important to note as well so that you can work the other activities around it though I also think kids can be helped to change nap times should there be activities that really have set schedules. It is also imperative to know when your kids usually feel sleepy so that you can anticipate and avoid having them get all cranky or hyped up because they’re already too tired.
- Daddy & mommy’s daily schedules– If you’re both working then you can create a routine wherein you can either greet your child as he or she wakes or read a story before bedtime. If only one parent works outside the home and the other tends to the kids then you can set a schedule wherein you both have opportunities to bond with the kids. For our family, our routine is so that I’ve put the kids down for a nap before I do my work at home. I’ve taken note that Rusky usually gets home at a certain time so I’ve scheduled for the kids to have already eaten dinner and freshened up before he does so they’ll have time to play and bond before the kids have to sleep. Having a routine helps me fulfill not just my motherly duties but also my role as a wife. For example, as the kids play in the living room or in their playroom, I am able to prepare dinner in time for when Rusky gets home.
- Activities we like– It’s important to create a routine that’s not stressful and enjoyable for everyone. For example, both Mattina and Renée love playing outside so I’ve included that in our routine so that they’ll have the chance to swim in their inflatable pool, play with the dog, water the plants or pick up rocks. I, on the other hand, like reading and wish to share this with my kids so I’ve put Story Time as part of their bedtime ritual.
- Quiet & Active– In our preschool, the classroom is set up in such a way that there are both quiet areas like the Reading Nook and more noisy ones such as the Blocks Area. I think having a variety of to do’s and alternating between Active and Quiet activities helps the kids manage their behavior better. For example, I’ve scheduled bathing before Nap Time so that the kids will have a chance to quiet down and relax before they are put to bed. I’ve put Activity Time with Mommy before Outdoor Play so that the kids are more open to listening before I let them explore their environment in unstructured play.
- Negotiables& not so negotiables– Some parents are very firm when it comes to Meal Times and Bedtimes and you have to consider this when you create your home routine. I’m a little bit more flexible but I do appreciate it when the kids take their naps according to schedule because it’s easier to also put them to bed at night. Think about what activities you NEED in your routine and schedule other activities around it. For example for us, I’ve scheduled the kids’ naps after lunch so that I can be a bit more flexible in the afternoon. After they’ve napped, I can forego the afternoon play if there something else we need to do. When someone wants to make an appointment with me, I set it during the Negotiable part of our daily routine so that I can take the kids with me.
When posting your Home Routine, don’t just write it in a sheet of paper for your caregiver or family members to read. Involve your child and post it on a wall in your house that he or she will see everyday. If your children are still young, make the letters big enough, the words simple enough and illustrate it with colorful drawings to entice themto read. No matter how young they are, they will learn to associate the pictures with the written words and it will facilitate development of their reading skills. Also, when they start feeling upset over a change in the routine, just bring themback to the posted home schedule and remind them that there is a time for everything as you go thru the schedule (or the pictures) together.