From the moment you discovered you were going to be a parent, the word routine started to sneak into conversations about your child. Friends and family were full of advice and statements like:
‘Make sure you get the baby into a routine or they’ll never sleep properly’
‘You need to have a routine to get them used to eating at regular times/going for daytime naps so you can get things done/get them potty trained/’
The list goes on.
If you’re naturally a structured person, then the word and principle of having a routine will be music to your ears. However, if structure and routine make you break out in a cold sweat, it can be difficult to establish useful routines for your child. These are three simple tips to help you to create routines that will make your parenting day easier.
Buy enough to last
We’re all busy, whether you’re a working parent or a stay-at-home parent life is busy. When your child is at school, whether primary or senior, they will need a uniform and your laundry basket will grow overnight.
It may sound excessive, but at the beginning of the next school year, make sure you buy enough blouses/shirts to last a week. That way you only need to do one lot of white school washing a week. Which also means one lot of school ironing. You may think only buying three and washing mid-week is more financially sensible, but the extra load of mid-week washing will soon make the cost of an extra pack of shirts more attractive.
The same goes for underwear, socks or tights and dresses or trousers. With supermarkets making uniform items so cheap, the amount of time you’ll save having seven hangers all prepped on a Sunday night with each day’s uniform ready to be taken out of the wardrobe and put on is worth every penny.
Keep it simple
This might sound shocking, but don’t give your child too long to get ready in the morning. Think about it, give them longer than they need and they will ultimately reach for the iPad, TV remote or pile of toys. Once they’re in that head space it’s nigh on impossible to get them away without a fight.
But simply cutting down the amount of time they have to get ready to be just enough to get washed, eat breakfast and get dressed, means that there’s no time to argue over just another five minutes, so you save time and reduce the stress of having to nag them into action.
Make it a habit
Whatever routine you set, from getting everything ready for the week ahead on a Sunday night to writing a weekly food menu or batch cooking and meal prep, the key is to keep doing it.
On average, 21 days will make a life-affirming habit. Write down the things that cause you stress and then work out a plan that will ease that stress. Stick to the plan for 21 days minimum.
The one key thing is to not make it difficult; small goals, simple changes and achievable outcomes. There’s no point setting yourself up for failure with an unrealistic goal.
The great thing about habits is they eventually go on autopilot and things just get done, without a lot of hassle or having to remember. Teach your kids useful habits and life will get much easier.