Routine, routine, routine, routiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine (now I’ve got Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” stuck in your head. You’re welcome)
We’ve made it through the free-for-all of summer, and as we soak up the summer’s last few rays, it’s natural to start thinking about how to ready ourselves for the school year. If you’re anything like me, getting out the door in the mornings is a bit of a free-for-all. Someone can’t find their shoes, someone else forgets how a toothbrush works, and mom is wondering why she didn’t just raise cats. If we, in the Drzycimski house, don’t have some structure to our mornings, afternoons, and evenings we descend into utter chaos.
Research tells us how important the predictability of routine is to the well-being of children.
Think about it: how much do you enjoy having no idea what is expected of you or what is coming next? To me, it sounds like anxiety hell. The same is true for our kids. Yes, being carefree should be the hallmark of childhood. But in the same vein, predictability offers kids boundaries so everyone stays carefree. Sorta.
So how do we establish a routine? I love a good chart. There are a million options on Etsy and Amazon as well as templates online you can use. Because of the nature of my job, I have a great template I want to share with you. It’s super broad and customizable; plus you can do this as a family so kids have a say in routine as it makes sense to them.
You can make a routine chart with a few simple tools that you may have lying around the house already:
- 10 clothespins (per child)
- Sharpie or other markers
- This template: https://bit.ly/2Vmv6YQ
- And this nifty set of routine activities that families can choose from: https://bit.ly/2TGfChZ
This activity has been effective with my kids from age 3 all the way through 5th grade. Having kids help choose routine activities gives them a sense of ownership and power over the process and increases their buy-in.
Here’s how to put your family’s chart together:
1.) Choose 5 routine activities from the template and cut them out (or have children do so). Glue to the center column.
2.)Write your child’s name on the long end of each clothespin and attach it to the “To Do” side of the chart. When the item is completed, move the clip to the “done” side. (Side note: the pinning and transfer are great for fine motor development!).
3.)Repeat this process for each child’s routine for as many children and times of day you find yourself needing. If you’re a visual person like me, this is what your chart should look like (don’t judge me, I only had three clothespins on me):
Routines are really good for development in that they increase kids’ sense of self-efficacy (confidence in themselves and their abilities) because they can physically participate in carrying out these tasks. Think about how good you feel when you knock out that to-do list! The same applies to our kiddos. Plus, bonding with our kids can be increased by working towards a common goal as a family.
Let us know how your routine chart turned out!
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