Back to School Routines
With the Fall season in full swing I feel somewhat more relaxed these days. It’s not that the summer didn’t offer peaceful times, it did. We had loads of fun at the water parks, riding the seawall and picnicking. I got to catch up on sleep which was absolutely essential to my sanity, but I longed for the routine that comes with the new school year. They provide a comfortable order when things get out of hand.
It wasn’t long ago that routines and any sort of scheduling were something I steered clear of in my free time. I would often find myself driving a different route to work or when I exercised I’d never do it in the same order. And while that is great for keeping your body guessing it wasn’t a peaceful mindset. Perhaps my resistance comes from having worked in the spa industry. Some days I had appointments every 15 to 30 minutes. On my off time I never wore a watch and rarely kept a routine on weekends. While I still resist it in my free time sometimes, I understand the value of routines more since becoming a mom.
Nowadays, I take great comfort in knowing I can set the tone for the day or a good night’s sleep by having established routines. With sleep deprivation in the mix, it is helpful knowing that I can still feel accomplished with simple tasks other than just dragging my ass out of bed. It seems easier knowing what a semblance of order can do for the day. And of course children thrive on routine and need to know what to expect and what is expected of them. A calmer, more peaceful environment for the entire family is result.
Here are some basic routines we’ve established to keeps everyone happy.
The Morning Routine
Keep it Simple
After getting out of bed, the duvet gets folded back to air out the bedding and the blinds are opened to bring fresh air in. The kettle gets put on for tea and the dishwasher unloaded to free it up for the breakfast dishes. We’ve usually cleaned the kitchen the night before so there’s not much to be done there. We can go about getting lunches ready and breakfast going. Coffee is made to take to work.
The Evening Routine
For the Preschooler
The evening routine is by far the most important one in a house with little ones. It’s important for them to know what to expect come bedtime and so we’ve established this simple routine.
We usually have dinner around 6pm although OLM sometimes gets his dinner first. When he’s finished eating, its playtime and one of us will finish up dinner preparation for the big kids(that’s us). Bathtime helps our little guy unwind and he’s usually yawning long before the water is drained from the tub. Next its PJ’s and quiet playtime for 10 minutes before story time. OLM might ask for a snack as he’s a bit of a grazer these days. The toys get tidied up and then its time to brush his teeth. A song we’ve made up on the spot makes it fun and gets the job done more quickly.
A few bedtime stories are read to him then the light is turned off and a song or two gets him ready for la-la land. It’s so sweet when OLM says he’s tired and wants his ‘bed’. We know he’s ready to close his eyes and dream of bumble bees – which he says he dreams about often.
For Us Big Kids
After OLM is asleep we take care of the dinner dishes and put the kettle on for tea. In the past we would have some biscuits as well but as I am turning doing my best to get my health back and have made a few changes, namely drinking a lot less booze and not snacking after 8pm most nights.If we watch TV these days I’ll keep my hands occupied with tasks like folding laundry or writing.
Paying attention to what feels good and being consistent with some flexibility in the mix, is key. Keeping things simple is above all most important in establishing routines that last and for everyone to have a place in a happy family.
What are some routines that you find comfort in? I’d love to hear about them.
Thanks for reading.