Thursday, October 8, 2009

Routines Rock

I know that getting into a routine maybe tough, it was a struggle for to come off of maternity leave, get back into the school routine, and get my eight week old Zoe off to the sitter.

Here are some helpful hints in creating a routine:
  1. Establish your own pattern. Most people are forced to have routines due to their line of work (from lawyer to home manager). But if you live chaotically, understand that your children will live chaotically. Establishing a routine for yourself will greatly help in establishing a routine for your children and help model for your children the act of routine-building.
  2. Establish expectations and home routines. Sit down with your child and discuss what works best for the morning routine, after school routine and night routine. Use your child’s input and make a list. Post the lists in appropriate places. Again, you are training your child to be a responsible adult.
  3. Encourage your child to adopt the plan by emphasizing that life is easier with routines. Remember that repetition is critical. Gentle reminders and keeping the focus on established lists aids a child in the training process. If a routine is not working, re-work it! Consistency yields results. Help your child daily until the behavior patterns solidify. You will likely be rewarded by a calmer atmosphere at home.
  4. Review school routines. Most kids feel overwhelmed and anxious by new school routines. No matter how helpful and forgiving the teacher may be, kids feel a need to impress and fit in. Go over the expectations of the school and talk to your child about the best way he can manage within that system.
Remember, it is never too late to establish routines. Look at what has worked so far, what is not working, and what will work in the future. Develop a plan with your children and then understand that you are responsible for training them step by step. If you use patience and understanding, your children will gladly participate in finding what works. Nobody likes a chaotic, hurried experience. After training, your children will relax into the patterns.