Whether you are a super-organized type A personality, or more of a laze fair attitude, routines can create a more peaceful atmosphere in your household. The best routines are simple and flexible, but offer consistency, which provides structure for children. Here are some practical ways to help make mornings and evenings better, by establishing good routines.
Most adults and students are hungry and tired when they arrive home after school and work. Plan a well-balanced meal for dinner, or a snack if it is a while before dinner. Children should unpack their backpack and begin homework. Set aside a place for children to do homework. Supplied with pencils, pens, and necessary items for homework. Parents should engage in homework by helping younger children or checking older children’s homework.
Establish a family dinner time. This should be a special time to learn about your child’s day and hear all that he or she is learning in school. This, for my family, was a great time to hear two highs and one low of the day. We as a family looked forward to hearing about each other’s successes and struggles. As a parent, this is an excellent way to begin your family prayer time by praying for these items.
Set a firm bedtime with a predictable sequence of activities. Children require a lot of sleep and even more when school begins. Children should follow the bedtime routine to make the night move
Before everyone is fast asleep, get out all the necessary items for the following day. Especially any afterschool items, such as sports equipment. Make sure all bags are packed and ready to go, eliminating any stress in the morning looking for last-minute items. Backpacks should be placed in a location that can’t be missed, and school clothes should be laid out, easily accessible.
Use an alarm to start your day. Setting the alarm at the same time daily sets the routine early. Eating a healthy breakfast is very important. Most families, according to research, often skip breakfast, a very important part of the child’s day. Sometimes, it can be hours before lunch, causing dips in blood sugar and moods. Once breakfast is eaten, getting dressed and out the door should be the goal. If children have laid out items the night before there is less discussion about what to wear and what items are needed for school.
Last but not least, as you transport your child to school, use this time wisely to talk to your child. It is our natural tendency to use that time to listen to the radio, sing our favorite songs, or talk on the phone. However, this time is precious and can be used to have meaningful, wonderful, precious conversations that can impact His kingdom. Use the time to discuss the day, pray for the day, and establish great communication with your child. As a mom of a 22-year-old, and a 19-year-old, I treasured the time I had with my boys in the car.
Routines can seem strict and sometimes not so fun, but by establishing routines early, in time, they will soon become a habit.
Author: Julia Shoemake, Elementary Principal at First Baptist Academy in Dallas