If you want your kids to follow a daily routine, they have to help create it, and then feel supported as they practice mastering the routine on their own.
That sounds super obvious to most parents, but that’s not always how things play out. We often “let” the kids take part when it’s convenient for us or when they are doing things “right” but as soon as they fall behind, or don’t do things exactly the way we want them, we step in and muddle everything up.
Creating, executing and mastering routines takes time and while the kids are practicing, life happens.
But if we can shift our thinking, if we can let the routine lead the day, we’ll find that children can take on more responsibility, become less dependent on us for everything and we can all enjoy that time between activities vs. rushing and hurrying things along.
What does this mean? If your child is supposed to pack a backpack for school, you won’t jump in and do it as the clock starts ticking louder and louder. And so, yes, you’ll be late. Yes, your kid will wear PJ’s to school. Yes, they won’t have a lunch if they don’t feel like making one.
Once you learn to let go, the child will know you trust they can do it and that’s when the magic happens. Obviously, allowing a kid to go to school hungry because they forgot their lunch or left their homework behind is a hard lesson to learn! Most parents think they just can’t let that happen. But they soon find out they can and it only happens once or twice.
Over time, once your children realize you’re going about the routine and that you trust them to manage on their own, they begin to master tasks that lead to confidence and capability. After the peaceful, relaxed and orderly routine is established, you’ll never look back!
Are you ready for a routine?
Kids can do so much. With a solid routine and less interference, kids of all ages CAN and WILL:
- get dressed
- make lunches
- bring a backpack
- get ready for bed quickly
- wake up for school on time
- finish homework
- brush their teeth
- feed the pets
- and so much more!
It’ll be bumpy for just a short while. Once you master the routine, it’ll get smoother and sweeter. In the beginning, you’ll have to focus on these few things:
- Patience. Don’t step in, even if you’re late.
- Correcting. If a kid packs three granola bars for his lunch, hey it’s a start. It’ll get better- don’t get caught up in the little stuff.
- Let go. You’ll just have to sacrifice a few events (like bball practice or dinner out) in order to learn the routine.
- Once it’s in place, it’ll be just fine.
- Trust the kids. Just trust them. They will find a way if you’re not there doing everything for them.