How can we better manage our family time and lessen the after-work stresses?
Raising a family can be one of the most gratifying experiences, but it can also come with unexpected stressors. Between changing diapers, planning meals and managing a budget, life’s pressures can leave you feeling overwhelmed. However, jam-packed schedules don’t have to result in chaos and fast food every night. Setting up a daily routine for your family can help reduce stress and keep everyone organized.
What is a routine?
A routine is a regular way of doing things in a particular order. You may already have routines in your life, like giving your child a bath and reading him a story before putting him to bed every night. Routines can also help families accomplish tasks while spending time together. Routines establish family expectations of who is responsible for which chores and teach children responsibility while streamlining day-to-day life.
Benefits of routines for children
Routines help adults manage the hustle and bustle of raising a family, and they also help children feel safe and develop a sense of self-efficiency. Research shows meaningful routines can reinforce shared beliefs and values, creating a feeling of belonging and unity in families. Daily routines around every-day tasks, like getting ready in the morning, mealtimes, bath time and bedtime, can significantly reduce stress, create free time, and make parents feel more successful.
Routines also teach children healthy habits, self-control and organizational skills. Children who come from homes where belongings are routinely put away in a designated place learn how easy it can be to find items when they need them. When there is a set time and place to do homework, children learn how to sit down and complete a task with limited distractions. Children with strong basic self-care routines, like grooming and preparing food, may be more successful taking care of themselves as adults.
Developing a routine
Each family is different, and there isn’t a perfect routine. What works for one family may not work for the next. Consider what matters most to your family. While developing your routine ask yourself some questions like:
- Is there anything my family regularly does that could be streamlined?
- Are there tasks that the children can be more involved in?
- Are there other activities I’d like to do that could be included in my family’s routine?
Here are a few tips on creating your family’s routine
- Be consistent with morning routines, as they set the tone for the day and help keep the remaining routines on track.
- Develop a meal plan for the week and post it on your fridge. This helps avoid last-minute meal planning or drive-thru dinners. Children can help with meal planning and preparation!
- Make family activities, like walks or bike riding, part of the routine to encourage family togetherness and physical activity.
- Baths and story time can be soothing and a great way to signal that it’s time to get ready for bed.
Learn more about child development at abcquality.org.
Visit the ABC Quality site to learn about child care and development and the state’s voluntary quality rating system, or to search for a child care provider . ABC Quality is administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.
By ABC Quality Team on June 20, 2017