UNCLE! UNCLE! I GIVE! I GIVE!… I was wrong about routine… you heard me, I WAS WRONG!… Alright, I admit it… I… Need… Routine.
In fact, I really really like routine… OK I LOVE IT ALRIGHT! I’ll shout it from the roof tops! I was blind and now I see. People with routine aren’t necessarily party poopers or sticks in the mud. They know the benefits of a routine and they will do the work for it so they can enjoy that.
So as a new believer in routine for my kids and my family as a whole, here are the benefits I see for having a “strict” routine:
Beneficial For Times I Can’t Function As A Human Being.
You’ve seen what my previous routine, (none existent routine) looked like. I was so scattered in the morning, starting everything and getting nothing complete. (Click here to see the start of my journey).
This wasn’t because I am simply a scattered person. Turns out it’s because I’m just not thinking straight in the morning. No matter how much sleep I get I will always take at least two hours to get to the point of semi-functioning. In fact I’m actually more of a night person than a morning person. I can go all day feeling exhausted and suddenly 6pm rolls around and it’s like the sun just came up.
A routine helps me with preparing for this time period of being a zombie mom. Because I have most of my energy at night, I do my best to set everything up at this time so I can do as little as possible in the morning. I even go as far as making my coffee the night before and I just heat it up in the morning.
I tidy the living room floor the night before, so I’m not tripping over toys on my way to the kitchen. I also do this so I can put Izabella (my 8 month old) on the floor and not concern myself of her finding a potential chocking hazard, i.e. dried up snacks from the day before.
I set up my three year old Esperanza with a “morning box” in her room the night before, because I move slower than she’d like me to for getting her breakfast. In her morning box is a morning snack to keep her from getting “hangry” (more on this later). There also is a change of clothes for the morning so I don’t have to go through the basket of unfolded clean laundry, which takes… well longer than it would if I could only manage to fold the laundry and put it away.
So, because Esperanza is only slightly hungry and not “hangry”, I can move at my snails pace without hearing her scream at me to move faster. Because my coffee is already made and waiting for me I feel happier about being up so early. And because the living area is tidy I can then wake myself up by reading a bible devotional in a relaxed state. Causing me to be a more friendly zombie mom, (instead of the kind that wants to kill everyone).
Helps Preperation For Potential Tantrums
Not gonna lie, I thought my daughter just gets mood swings like every other “threenager” out there. But it actually turns out she gets “hangry”, a.k.a angry hunger. So having a routine helps me to plan for these upcoming spouts of anger by knowing beforehand what I will prepare for our meals and how long it will take.
This then assures that I either have our meal ready before she lashes out OR I have a snack close at hand her to tide her over.
Time Limitations On Activities Make Kids More Excited and Focused
“Esperanza, why don’t you go play in your playroom with all those toys you have?”… all I would get is a blank stare like she has no clue why I even offered that idea.
I realize now why my daughter doesn’t take the time to enjoy playing with specific toys or doing certain activities. First of all I don’t initiate these activities in a way of saying, “this is the only time you will get to do this so you better take the opportunity now”. It’s like she constantly has too many options of things to do and toys to play with that she doesn’t want to decide.
So she will simply find something she doesn’t have the option of doing often… getting into trouble. Having a routine of scheduled playtime with specific crafts and toys makes her more excited to play with toys that she’s even only played with once… on Christmas Day.
So if I don’t tell her, “hey it’s time to build with blocks”, or, “it’s time to read a story”, she won’t take the initiative to do it herself. She is only three after all. I don’t think she even remembers the number of different toys and activity sets she currently owns.
“Me Time” Can Now Be Scheduled Rather Than Just Hoped For
My check list of “mandatory chores” is complete and I’ve scheduled my children for a swimming lesson on Saturday afternoon which my husband loves to take them to so he can relax in the jacuzzi.
I am then left at home alone and with a relaxed feeling of satisfaction. So I can actually take this time to do what I want. There’s no stress of feeling like there’s so much to do and so little time. There’s no worry of my day falling apart because I’m not prepared.
This routine has given me a calming sense that I can take this time to myself and enjoy it. My house will not collapse if I don’t keep finding things to do.
It’s like routine has highlighted what my priorities are. It helped me figure out what’s important and what can wait. It helped me see where the chaos was coming from so I could then know how to take control. Control… that’s what routine has given me. I am now in control and it’s a great feeling!