Whether you once had your family on a daily schedule that you’ve let slide, or you’re now looking to integrate one into your lives, you’ll be surprised at the benefits that can come from starting up and maintaining new routines.
When your little one first came home, it was likely a routine that helped you survive those newborn nights. Babies and toddlers need routines and schedules to help them grow and thrive. Parents need these routines just as much to survive and thrive as parents.
As your child grows and life gets busier, it can be harder to stick to those once well-established routines and family schedules. Bringing a bit of structure back into your home and family can offer a world of benefits for each person in your family. Children of all ages, including teens, can find it a bit of an adjustment, but in time you’ll begin to see them changing in positive ways that everyone can appreciate.
While it’s unreasonable to expect that you’ll be able to strictly stick to a schedule every day of the week, month, and year, those positive differences will make it worth it to try.
Quick benefits of a schedule
Maintaining a schedule is a crucial part of helping to keep your home and family organized.
Have you ever wondered how your child’s teachers in elementary school managed to control the chaos of fifteen or more children? Schedules, routine, and good organization!
When children have the structure of a schedule, understand their routine, and see the benefits of good organization, they are much easier to work within any setting. This structure can also provide a sense of security for younger children, particularly those struggling with ADHD or behavioral concerns.
Older children and teens can learn several additional lessons from the structured environment, including communicating better and setting goals. Goal setting is an important life lesson that can help your teen and every family member learn to work together and gain control of their behaviors.
It may seem like an impossible task to start to integrate a structured schedule into your day and family environment, but you may be surprised at just how easy it can be.
Tip 1: Take a look at your current schedule
What does your current day and week look like?
One of the best ways to get started with integrating a daily schedule is to see what your time obligations are right now. Your kids go to school and may have football practice or dance class after school. You and your partner go to work and may attend HOA or PTA meetings after work.
Create a daily calendar so that you can account for everybody’s time during the day. This can allow you a good insight into whether there are areas for improvement. There could be scheduling concerns contributing to your child’s behavior and problems he’s having at school.
It’s all too easy to overbook ourselves and our children. This can result in a lack of organization, struggling with time commitments, stress, and fatigue. By looking at those areas that could be improved upon, you’ll have the opportunity to better control how your hours are spent.
Tip 2: Goal setting, as parents and as a family
What are you hoping to achieve with your new family schedule?
Are you looking to reduce chaos and confusion when getting ready in the mornings?
Are you hoping to get your child’s homework and grades back on track?
Are you looking to help your overly tired and stressed family get more rest?
Figuring out what your goals are can help each of you figure out the right balance.
Do you need to reduce your obligations to sports and other extracurricular activities so that your family can spend more quality time together?
Finding that all-important balance between responsibilities, obligations, and relaxation can be a challenge.
Start by taking a truly honest look at what the needs of each member of your family are. Perhaps you, as a parent, need to restore order to your chaotic and cluttered home, or maybe you need to be able to unwind over the weekends.
Setting your goals is such an important part of establishing that daily schedule.
Tip 3: It’s time for the whiteboard
It’s one thing to tell everyone that you will start working on a new daily schedule, but it can make a world of difference if every family member can see the schedule begin to take shape. A whiteboard and dry erase markers are all you need to get started.
Write down your new family schedule and hang the board up where everyone can see it. Let your family know that you will now all be following this schedule so that you can meet the goals that you’ve all set for yourselves.
Make changes to the schedule as needed. It may be that you find moving the bedroom back just a few extra minutes allows your kids more time to unwind with a shower, brushing their teeth, and reading. While you must stand firm with your family when you get the opposition to the new schedule, it’s just as important to be a little bit flexible when there is benefit in being so.
Tip 4: Sticking to your schedule
The first week is bound to be difficult for everyone in your household. Encourage your children and others in the home to read the schedule and follow the instructions that accompany it.
You may find that snapping a picture and giving printouts to everyone can be helpful. This is particularly true if your child has a schedule of his own that he needs to stick to. Whether it involves getting up by 6.45 or getting ready to walk out the door by 7.30, your child will need to know what is expected of him if he is to stick with his schedule.
The ultimate plan for your schedule is for every family member to take responsibility for their own time and schedule. You may need to remind them a few times, but the expectation should be that they’ll learn to follow the schedule and stick to it.
Tip 5: Expect a need for adjustments and refocusing
In a perfect world, your first run at your schedule will go perfectly. In reality, there could be an opportunity to make changes after the first week and then after the first month.
Your kids may need some flexibility in their schedule to make sure they can fit in time for their homework after dance class. Or you may need more time for grocery shopping on Saturday mornings.
Remember that there will be days when your schedule is not going to work for anyone. Whether it’s an emergency, a bad storm that knocks out your power, traffic that keeps you from getting home on time, or something else you can’t account for, being flexible is crucial.
Instead of going to the grocery store and cooking dinner as a family, swing by a family favorite restaurant or grab something to go. These impromptu moments can deviate from the schedule, but they can also teach your family how to be flexible, approach challenges, and problem solve on the fly.
Struggling to implement a new routine and establish structure in your home? There are some great resources that can help you get started and help you learn how to stay the course.