With my two-year old and seven month old, I get so many lectures on how much routine and structure my kids need. I’ve had some people tell me to set a routine that almost made me feel like they thought I was a drill sergeant, not a mom. I’m sorry, but I’m not scheduling my kids to the minute, so that they can tick every single little box every single day, it’s not realistic and it will make And It is true that they need routine and structure, and we do have a basic framework for our day, I try to keep things relaxed enough that the day feels like less of a slog. So here is our basic framework:
- I get up and cook breakfast in the morning. I have to get up at about the same time, since I have to take some medicine, and if I get up on time, that helps encourage everyone else up at the same time too. After all, freshly cooking food, and fresh brewed coffee for my husband, has this magical ability to wake up all the men in my life.
- In the morning we have an adventure. And by that I mean we get out of the house. Every day. (okay, most days) But these adventures can include running errands, walking to the library, going to church, or going for a walk in the neighborhood.
- After lunch we have independent play. I give the baby some toys to play with, and my toddler picks something, and they both play alone for a while. During this time, I keep and eye on them while doing some chores, cleaning up the kitchen a bit, laundry etc. And then in a little bit I jump in and play with them.
- Quiet time. My baby’s first nap is pretty much always on our outing, but during his second one, we have quiet time. Since my toddler has dropped his naps, he spends afternoon nap time doing a quiet and more restful activities, such as coloring, looking at books, and occasionally watching an episode of a television show.
- While I cook dinner, my kids play in my line of sight, and if there are things he can do, I encourage my toddler to help me make dinner. I don’t let him do anything with heat and knives, but he loves it when he gets to put toppings on pizza or stir a bowl of spices or marinade for me. I’ll measure things and he gets to add them to food.
- During my baby’s bedtime routine, my toddler gets cleaned up and puts away his toys, and the after his brother goes to bed, he gets special mommy and daddy time. This is when we may let him play a little bit of a game with us for 15-20 minutes, followed by story time and bedtime.
- After the boys are in bed, I always make have personal time. I do my devotions, write-up blog posts, and possibly play a game. After that, my husband and I make time together for a little bit before bed. We play a game or watch an episode of a television show. We also make certain we talk for a little bit.
This looks really boring I’m sure, but this loose framework, leaves plenty of openings for lots of activities. Also it keeps things easy to adjust as my kids grow and change, which they both seem to do every week. For a long time, I let to many people convince me that I needed the routine to be much more time based, and all that did was increase stress for everyone in the family. For one thing, my husband’s work schedule fluctuates a great deal from day-to-day, sometimes he works during the day and other times during the evening. With that dynamic changing, a rigid routine was impossible to establish. So instead I set basic plans and go about that, and I also try not to sweat it if something doesn’t go quite right.
I’ve had people criticize me for being so relaxed in structure, but it’s genuinely the only way that has worked to suit our needs.
Leave a comment and let me know how you organize your day for your family. I might just learn a few things!