Daily Routines, Part 1

Hey, mama! Is every day chaotic?  

Do you feel like you’re drowning in the never-ending to-do list?  

Routines provide structure and sanity to your day and help prevent overwhelm. Everyone benefits from routines: mom, kids, and dad, even if he works outside the home. Your routines and peace at home will bless him, too.  

Hi, I’m Laura and I currently have two boys, ages 3 1/2 and 2 years old. When I learned to implement routines it made our home calmer, more peaceful, there was far less whining, and I had less to plan as I moved through my day. My daily routines are a lifesaver! Even though we sometimes have different schedules on certain days, the routines can still be implemented and flex with our life. 

For example, on Tuesdays we leave the house at 9:30am, but the steps for getting out the door are the same as always, so it’s not as challenging as it could be. 

Why should you have daily routines? 

– They provide peace, security, and a sense of calm for everyone involved. 

– There is less of a power struggle because the routine becomes a habit. 

– You as a mom are calmer and can use less brain energy to decide what to do next. 

– Everyone knows what to expect and can flow through the day with less “stops” to figure out what is next or how to do it. 

– There is far less whining with established routines! That’s a big win for us mamas of little people. 

Often, I find my boys are excited when they know what to expect. Kids thrive on structure, schedules, and boundaries. Routines meet that need!  

What does that look like?

Laundry routines have been a challenge for me to implement. To be honest, once it’s clean, I don’t really care what happens to it! However, that doesn’t make for a tidy home or a productive system. Digging through baskets of clean laundry each day isn’t my idea of fun.  

My boys know when I pull out laundry baskets to fold laundry that their job is to take their piles and dump them in their drawers. I quit folding their stuff as I realized the piles were dropped multiple times along the way and never made it to the drawers folded anyway! It’s taken training, but now I have established the expectation that they’ll cheerfully put their clothes away. Sometimes we make a race or a game out of it!  

I also set a goal for myself to wash, dry, and put away one load of laundry per day. It can look different, but as long as there aren’t baskets of clean clothes sitting around, I’ve met my goal.

How to start a daily routine for your children

Routines are challenging to start, but once they’re established, they are a powerful tool to help kids and parents know what to expect each day. 

– First, decide what daily chore or action you are looking to solve or automate 

A simple routine I’m working to teach my son right now is to put away the silverware. 

– Do they know how to do all that is required in the task? 

I started by letting him help me and teaching him where everything goes. He was my helper and soon insisted on doing it all by himself. I supervised and provided guidance as he needed it. Eventually he was able to do it all by himself. 

– Cheerfully introduce new expectations 

Once I decided my son was able to complete the task in a way that I could live with (some forks or spoons are upside down, but that’ll come in time), I made it his chore. I made the announcement that this was now his chore as he was such an expert at it! You see, I need lots of help and he was just the person to help me. (Cue one very proud little boy!) 

– Set a time (either an actual time or an activity the task is linked to) 

As my three-year-old cannot tell time, I ask him to put away the silverware every morning as I make breakfast. That way I’m right there, and he isn’t stuck in the kitchen while we all have fun in the living room. I can help with any questions and continue to provide guidance and help him keep up my standard for the job. 

– Reward a job well done 

I give him lots of praise and sometimes correction if he doesn’t have a cheerful attitude. I verbally appreciate how he is making my life easier by helping me with the chores and point out his diligence to his little brother. “Did you see your brother helping me? He had such a good attitude! When you get older, you’ll also have chores and you can have a good attitude too!” It’s a good thing they wear t-shirts as otherwise my oldest would be bursting all his buttons off with pride! 

– Find another chore or daily activity to create a new routine! 

You’ve got this, mama! 

Check out Part 2 for some routines I use in my home and some tips on how to create routines for yourself.  

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