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Some say parenting is like running a marathon – you have to pace yourself. But in a very real sense, parenting is more like running a sprint, over and over and over again. That’s why it’s important to build a routine around the elements of your day that you can control and save your energy for the elements you can’t. Here are some tips for building a routine that will help you get the rest and relaxation you need.
it’s important to build a routine around the elements of your day that you can control and save your energy for the elements you can’t.
Your routine won’t be a success if it goes against your child’s natural temperament and tendencies, so let your child take the lead. Use a journal to keep track of your activities for a few days and look for patterns. Even if you find only one consistency (say, breakfast at 7:30), that’s enough to build around
It’s most important to be consistent with meal times and bed times, but setting expectations for the rest of your day isn’t a bad idea either, even if it’s just scheduling time for “free play” in the afternoons. Depending on your child’s age, you can get their help in planning for future activities that fill rotating time slots, and teach them valuable lessons about planning ahead.
Just like adults who need a few minutes to themselves after a long day at the office, kids need help transitioning between varying levels of activity. One of the best ways to get kids ready for bedtime is a regular bedtime routine which starts with higher-energy activities like bath time and winds down to lower-energy activities like story time and finally, bedtime.
From parent’s nights out to vacations at Grandma’s, change is bound to impose on your carefully-orchestrated routine. Don’t panic. The key is to maintain as much consistency as you can. This ranges from maintaining the rest of the days scheduled meal and play times, to brining the comforts of home with you when you travel (a beloved toy, favorite outfit or relied-upon nightlight). Trust that when your regular schedule returns, your child’s expectations will too.