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Creating a Daily Routine for Your Family

Bedtime PrayersFor the most part, all of us have some sense of a daily routine already. Usually dictated by school, work, and extra-curricular activities, our daily routines at a minimum usually involve getting ourselves off to school or work in the morning, dinner on the table in the evening, and into bed at night.

But what many families struggle with is fitting in and remembering all the extra’s that go along with having kids, full time jobs, and outside commitments and obligations. The extra’s like making lunches, throwing in a load of laundry, running errands, returning phone calls, arranging play dates, and helping kids with homework. It’s all the extra’s that go along with our major commitments that can become overwhelming and add to a family’s stress, chaos, and frustration.

And this is where the power of a good daily routine can be a life saver for busy families by helping families gain focus and get more consistent with their lives. Well thought out and crafted daily routines offer families a little slice of peace in their often hectic lives by minimizing the thought that goes into the routine tasks of everyday life and the nervousness of feeling like there is too much to do.

When creating your family’s routines it is important to remember not all families are created equal and what works for one family may not work for another. For daily routines to be effective, families need to pay attention to their own unique needs and family rhythm and develop routines that compliment their needs. Simply copying your neighbor’s system won’t work and will eventually lead parents and kids down a path of frustration and abandonment.

So how do families go about creating their routines? Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Do a Brain Dump  - Sit down and do a brain dump of all the routine tasks that need to get done every day for every family member. Keep things like housework and yard work off the list for right now. Life will not come to an end if the floor doesn’t get vacuumed, but your son showing up at school without his lunch or having no clean underwear to wear can be a problem. Stick to daily critical tasks of getting yourselves off to school or work and living from day to day. Once you have these routines mastered, you can establish a routine for house cleaning.

Write It Down  - Parents are way too busy to rely on their aging memories to keep track of their daily routines, so be sure to write them down. Where you write them will be unique to each family. Some families will choose to write them on their family calendar or in their planners. Others will choose to keep them posted on the kitchen refrigerator, family bulletin board, or paperwork organizer. Still others will choose to program them into their electronic calendars. The choice is yours, but be sure to use a system that compliments your current system for keeping track of family obligations. Adding an entire new system will only lead to confusion. To make this easier for your family, use one of our daily routine templates as inspiration.

Accommodate Your Family’s Natural Rhythm - When crafting your daily routines be cognizant of your family’s natural rhythm. For example, most parents and children have a particular time of day when they are their freshest and most effective. Structure your routines to make the most of your best time. If you become brain dead by 7′oclock every night then front load your routines for earlier times in the day and make them less intensive in the evening.

Be Flexible - Your family’s routines will evolve over time and won’t be perfect the first time you use them, so be flexible and willing to make changes. Also, the routine will most likely need adjusting as families make the transition from structured school days to the more relaxed days of the summer. Just remember to keep copies of your school year and summer routines so that you don’t have to rethink them when kids go back to school.

Manage Disruptions - Be prepared for disruptions.  Disruptions to the routine are inevitable and no amount of planning an scheduling will prevent them.  Be prepared for the disruptions by learning how to anticipate disruptions and manage disruptions when they happen.

Good daily routines will help families gain better control of their lives by making the recurring tasks of daily family life more manageable and a little less overwhelming. Eventually after your family has been using them for a while you will find little need to even look at your routines. They will just become habit and ingrained in your lives.