Good. Better. Best. Rate your routines.
Are your routines working for you?
For me a routine is: that lead up time to meal time or a situation that occurs regularly, eg. going to school or work.
If the energy during the routine is feeling clunky and stressful, the outcome not matching the energy going into it, then maybe it is time to reevaluate. But it is hard to re evaluate and come up with new ideas for routines when you may not have many role models to go by, or you are listening to that negative voice in your head that is telling you stories about yourself that are not true. For me, there were two in particular:
a). You never get things right or good enough and b). You can never commit long to anything.
Now before we go on, can I share something personal with you: when I started to critically analyse a) and b), I soon realised that those statements I was telling myself just weren’t true – they literally weren’t relevant and were holding me back.
a). I do get things right, and if I don’t, I have given it my best. I have shown up and matched the energy needed as best as possible. To me, that is getting things right. That is my definition of getting things right and anybody else’s opinion is actually irrelevant; they don’t walk in my shoes and therefor are not my judge or jury.
b). I really do believe there is a season for everything. I have looked after myself and my family by realising things weren’t working or benefiting us and made changes accordingly. By not sticking to something for the sake of it has helped me or my family move forward. Everything from shifting interstate when there was a drought and loss of work, changing homeschooling curriculum, buying an appliance to do the job for me, letting go of some cleaning products when hot soapy water does the job just as well.
The question I usually ask myself is:
How can I make the routine better than what it is? Less stressful, the least amount of input for the best results.
Are there any unrealistic expectations that I can let go of?
Sharing some tips for a morning routine that have helped our day flow in a positive and productive way:
Turn the tv off in the mornings. Get your news from the paper or your preferred news website. Studies have proven that children focus better during school time when they haven’t been watching the tv in the morning. Unless it is age and stage appropriate, children don’t need to see the news – us adults struggle enough and are overwhelmed with it and we have the life skills to cope, children haven’t developed the coping mechanisms and they don’t need the anxiety and worry – they have enough to deal with. What is wrong with a child daydreaming out the window as they are easing into the day while eating their breakfast, music or no music and definitely not a commercial radio station with news updates. Before school time they can play outside, read, spend time with pets. Cuddling a pet lessens anxiety, make sure to hold space for these things that make life richer and add connection. Work on a craft project, draw. Children love it when there is a special activity for a certain time of day, it becomes a ritual and they take pride in keeping that special ritual. When Lil was primary school age I had a ‘special ritual’ for her in the mornings, it helped ground her and she transitioned into the school day calm and focused. It was literally a set of textas, crayons and pens on a tray (ones that had caught her eye in the shop and she had put on her wish list for birthdays), only to be used after breakfast and before school time, I often rolled out a length of paper as long as the table for her to draw on as well. When it was 8:45am she knew to finish off her drawing, pack everything away, wipe the table and get her school books out. Homeschooling started at 9am. We all have to show up on time to things in life (eg. work, appointments), showing up to homeschooling at 9am helped develop good life skills.
Even if I didn’t homeschool I still wouldn’t have had the tv on in the morning. There are too many benefits for children when the tv is off. They get to practice their reading. Refine motor skills if drawing, writing or artwork. Cognitive skills and problem solving skills if working on a project. Establishing a better connection with family members because they are interacting more and not starring at the tv. Children have the chance to be, daydream, cuddle a pet, forge connections because there is time and their focus isn’t distracted by a screen. They can help you with feeding the animals and do morning chores, learning responsibility and life skills as they go.
And before I had Lil and was married. I didn’t have the tv on in the morning before work. At different times I left early to walk or cycle to work, enjoyed the peace and quiet of starring out the window while I ate breakfast, stayed longer in bed and read, cleaned my flat/did laundry so I wouldn’t have to do it after work. I felt more present and less distracted.
I hope you found something useful in this blog post. I have learnt to love routines in the home and when I was homeschooling. I honestly didn’t expect them to be so freeing. A frame work that is predictable and yet flexible enough can help the day flow well. And if the routine no longer benefits us, then we have the power to change it.
Wishing you all good things,
In my Homeschooling Mentoring sessions I share more routines and suggestions that can help make the day flow smoothly. They can easily be adapted for your family and make home life more peaceful because of it and the family calmer and more connected. I would love to work with you if that is something that resonates.
Rate Your Routines.
January 25, 2022