Daily Routines Will Save Your Sanity

Is every day chaotic? Daily routines will save your sanity. Routines provide structure and sanity to your day and help prevent overwhelm. Everyone benefits with a routine: 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 and 20 months. When I learned to implement routines it made our home calmer, 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 can 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?

– Kids are more peaceful when they know what’s next.

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

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

– Everyone knows what to expect and that makes transitions smoother. For instance, if you always nap after lunch, or always wash hands before eating it takes away the step of explaining or wondering every time.

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

– Everyone can flow with 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, and routines are perfect for providing that.

You need routines to get more done with less wasted time

Routines save your sanity because there is less explaining! 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. It’s taken training, but now I have established the expectation that they’ll cheerfully put their clothes away.

Routines flow with your life

Routines can flex and change with schedule changes! On church night, bedtime becomes much later, however, we keep the same bedtime routine. Our whole family knows what to do to get ready for bed. We give our small children some warm milk, change their clothes, and put on bedtime diapers. We read a short passage from the Bible (Proverbs is great!), and sing some songs. They pray with dad and then get tucked into bed. Once the routine is started there is almost no whining as they know exactly what is coming.

The joy of a daily routine

This past spring my boys and I went to the park every single day after breakfast. They got used to the routine and it wasn’t even a question about what we should do that day. No begging about going to the park and me trying to decide if I wanted to go. It was just a fact. Eat, put your shoes on, and go!

Now, I didn’t always want to go, and of course we didn’t go when the weather was bad, but it made me get out the door almost every day to get some sun and exercise. Now that our schedule is different, we have other routines and now park time is something they ask about each day. The begging and whining are a sign to me that I need to find another consistent time to build it into my daily routine.

How to start a daily routine

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! I need lots of help and he was just the person to help me.

– 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 also point out to 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!

Routines I use to save my sanity

We’ve build routines for lots of things that happen on a daily basis and are constantly adding more. I try to keep them as simple as possible and reinforce them as many times as I can.

Some we currently use are:

– Wash your hands after getting down from a meal

– Take your shoes off and put them on the shelf when we come home

– Wash your hands when we come back inside the house

– Put your clothes away

– Throw your diaper away in the morning

– Sit on the toilet 1)When you get up in the morning, 2)Before naps, 3)Before bed at night. (This one is for my oldest who is potty trained but also doesn’t like to take the time out of playing to go. Maybe this one is just my house!)

– Clean up toys before nap time and before bedtime

– Get your own silverware for a meal (eventually they’ll learn to set the table)

I hope this list gives you some ideas as you create some routines in your own home!

Tips on starting new routines for yourself

– Decide on a task or routine that will make your day easier and save your sanity

Sometimes a routine can also look like a checklist or order of steps for frequently repeated activities. I have a posted list of everything I need in my diaper bag so I don’t have to think about it each time I go out. My husband can even pack it himself using the list as a guide! Bonus points!

– Link the new routine to an existing one

If you want to wipe down your bathroom sink each day, do it when you brush your teeth! Going somewhere tomorrow? Pack the diaper bag or supplies needed tonight and set it by the door.

– Set a time (or a timer!)

Sometimes you just need to say “I’m going to wash my dishes after the kids go to bed.” And then you know when you need to do it. Setting a timer (or turning on a video or podcast) helps me stay focused and also lets me know that I didn’t spend FOREVER on the task.

– Start small and give yourself lots of grace

Starting new things is hard, and it can take three to four weeks to create a new habit. Give yourself rewards when you accomplish it and grace when you don’t. Even completing part of the new habit is better than nothing!

Give it a try!

Every day can look different, but routines can keep things running peacefully. You can be calmer, spend less time figuring out a plan for the day, and answer less questions about what is “next”. Kids thrive with structure and will quickly adapt to rhythms and schedules that are reinforced. You’ll get more done as you spend less time thinking about what to do and more time just doing it.

Put some routines in place today! Let me know some routines that are working for you this week! Tag me on Facebook or IG so I can celebrate with you.

For more sanity-saving tips, check out my article on how to cook dinner if you have babies and toddlers!

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