Routines Are Important
Routines are so important for so many reasons, the list can go on and on. They are simple practical tools that will help you feel more productive in your daily life. The right routines for your family will allow you to maximize your quality family time or even ensure some valuable free time for yourself. What is free time again? I find that to be the hardest part as a full time single momma running a nanny agency. They really are essential to me, though they can also be tools to help our families cope with change, form healthy habits, and reduce overall stress levels. It’s vital to make routines that serve your needs; routines will likely vary for each person and every family. What may work excellently for some might be a complete failure for others. It may take some experimentation and flexibility to build a routine that works for everyone, but the process can be fun and rewarding. You may already be using routines in your day-to-day lives, but you may not realize how important they are and all the benefits they provide for your family. A certain degree of flexibility is important for routines to be successful. It’s important to allow some room for routines to change and evolve over time. Routines will look different throughout the school year and summer, especially if you are traveling. We are on a 11 week road trip and I have had to create new routines as we go without feeling guilty that I broke an old routine.
Children naturally learn through repetition. Since each child learns at their own pace, repetition allows them to become familiar with their tasks and responsibilities at their own pace. This leads to feelings of self-confidence and empowerment because they are gaining experience from becoming good at accomplishing their tasks. Children are generally focused on the present moment and what is coming up next in their day. Having a routine for them sets them up to know what comes next, so there is no surprise in the order of events. Routines are essential for children to maintain healthy sleeping and eating schedules, grow their social-emotional health, and increase their sense of accomplishment. During times of transition or change, routines become even more important because they can offer reassurance that helps children to quickly cope and adapt to the changes. At any age, sticking to a well-planned routine helps children grow into happy adults and the adults around them to function better and thrive.
When your nanny has the benefit of a daily routine and everyone knows what’s expected of them, they have a major advantage. Having your nanny follow a routine can foster a strong foundation of communication and trust between your nanny and your children. Routine allows your nanny to be consistent and can lessen the power struggle with older kids because the routine is something that has been agreed upon already. Inconsistency can create confusion. It’s important to be clear about expectations and what you want to see accomplished as part of the routine. Something to keep in mind is that a routine that works for everyone will be much easier to stick to. When your children and their nanny have a well-planned and predictable schedule things are more likely to go smoothly throughout the day.
A routine can be built around any task for any time of day. A good place to start is to consider what tasks are essential for your family and break them down into well-planned, regular, and predictable components. Incorporating rewards for your children can also help to motivate them to adopt the routine consistently. For mornings, establishing a routine allows everyone to know what to expect when they wake up and can start the day off with independence and structure. Dinnertime is also a great place to start setting a routine. If possible, a dinner routine where your family comes together to eat creates an opportunity for families to talk about their day. Creating these moments of family time together at the dinner table can give children the platform to talk about their feelings and share their day. Our family, for example, likes to share what our high and low of the day was as we join for our dinner meal. Routines can also be a great time to include some responsibilities like helping to set or clear the table and help with dishes.
It can be helpful for children to have visual reminders that can provide cues for the routine, something like an easy-to-interpret routine chart. Etsy has some amazing ones that you can print. By incorporating visual cues, children are better able to quickly understand what is expected of them and what order of events to follow. Keep in mind that some children will quickly adapt and thrive with new routines, but others may need more time to adjust before settling into them. Another key to success is that when you first start the routine, be sure to patiently guide your family through every step. Within a short time, your children might be reminding you it’s time to brush their teeth!
What routines are important to you? I encourage you all to start a new routine today and see how it transforms! Please share what routines work for your family.
The Nanny Consultant