If you're living life by the seat of your pants, Mighty Mommy shares 5 reasons routines will bring peace and joy to your home (and instill responsibility into your kids from an early age).
Routines Create Organization
I firmly believe that an organized home is a happy home. Regardless of how many children you have, having kids means you’re going to have “stuff” and lots of it! Strollers, baby bags, shoes, (and all those socks that get left everywhere) jackets, backpacks, sporting equipment, toys, books, snacks, paperwork, more toys, electronics—and that’s only half of it. If you don’t have systems in place to handle all the clutter, you’re going to spend endless hours of your valuable time managing it.
Once I realized we needed immediate structure in our family’s life, I created our sacred bedtime routine. Then I came up with a daily clean-up routine for my two toddlers. Yes, even at two or three, kids can usually follow directions and help clean up their toys. When you include your kids in the process of organizing, it teaches them to care for their own things and also makes very clear the amount of effort it takes to keep a clean and organized household.
Don’t let managing your material possessions rob you of the precious time you could be spending doing something worthwhile or enjoyable. Create systems that keep your family organized and you’ll enjoy both your family and your home a lot more.
Routines Allow for Self-Care
When I talk to other busy parents about the importance of everyday routines, I hear much of the same feedback—“Routines sound like they’ll take way too much time to establish.”
I beg to differ!
The beauty of building new routines into your life is that they can be done gradually. It’s completely unrealistic to think that you can go from an unstructured existence to a regimented lifestyle that the Army would be proud of.
In my episode How to Establish a Daily Routine for Your Family I offer six practical tips to help you lay a solid foundation of time-saving routines. One of my suggestions was to make a list of what you’d like to accomplish each day, and then prioritize your goals. This is a great way to choose which areas of your family’s life could benefit most from a particular routine. If your family struggles to get out the door to school on time each morning, that might be your starting point. In that case, think about what you can do the night before to lighten your load the next morning.
Once your new routines become consistent, you’ll begin seeing extra pockets of time show up in your schedule. At first it might be an extra 15 minutes of breathing room every morning because you’re not scampering out the door forgetting someone’s lunch (or the child himself). Next it could be an extra half-hour each evening because you now have a homework routine in place, freeing you up to listen to your favorite podcast while you enjoy a cup of coffee. And just wait until you have your kids helping around the house with a weekly clean-up routine—now you can head to the salon for some “me time” instead of doing those extra chores on the weekend.
With routines in your life, you’ll have more time to focus on self-care instead of always doing for others.
The beauty of building new routines into your life is that they can be done gradually. It’s completely unrealistic to think that you can go from an unstructured existence to a regimented lifestyle.
Routines Keep You Healthy
Not only are routines a wonderful tool for keeping our homes running efficiently, they’re also super helpful in keeping our health in tip-top shape. There are many benefits to exercise—it aides weight loss, helps build strong muscles and bones, increases your energy, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease—plus exercise releases endorphins which can make us feel happier.
As you build routines into your schedule, don’t forget to make time to incorporate an exercise routine as well. Check with your physician if you haven’t been working out or want to start some new physical activity, and then get ready to kick it up a notch and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
One of my favorite routines is my early-morning power walk. I set aside four to five mornings every week just for me. In fact, I typically decline offers to walk with friends because I enjoy the peace and quiet of my fast-paced strolls where I can have time to think about what’s going on in my life or I listen to music, podcasts, and audio books. As a result, I take care of my diabetes, stay in shape, and have a much better outlook on life because I consider this routine sacred and non-negotiable.
When my kids were babies, I took advantage of walking them in their strollers (usually a double stroller) as often as I could throughout the week. They loved getting fresh air in the neighborhood, and I was able to get my powerwalks in at the same time. For more tips on exercise, check out the Get-Fit Guy.podcast hosted by my colleague, Brock Armstrong,
Routines Create More Family Time
In my episode How Routines Will Simplify Your Life I referred to routines as my secret weapon. The real reason I’m such a fan of routines is because the final result of having them in place means I spend less time taking care of my daily household chores and can spend more time enjoying my family.
Routines don’t happen overnight, they need to be established and then consistently maintained. Make a list of how you’d like to see your days flow and then build your routines around that. Your routines will soon become your secret weapon, too!
What routines help your family thrive? Please share your thoughts in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.
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