If you haven’t already done so, read part one of this series.
I create routines based on what I need to get done, when.
The basic steps to creating a routine are:
* Decide what needs to be done
* Write it down
* Post it somewhere accessible to all
What routines should I create?
Probably the two most important routines in anybody’s day are the morning routine and the before bedtime routine.
Here is our morning routine:
It is printed and posted on our information board. You could put it on the refrigerator as well. Wherever it is going to be most useful and easily seen.
I found that my children also needed a list for how to clean their room.
I post the “cleaning your room” list in their room. I really should make a picture one for Ben.
My evening routine starts about 1 hour before bed. My goal is to have it finished in 15-20 minutes. Our routine includes:
Making a printable version
I simply typed my list on Word and then printed it. However, there are plenty of options on the web. If you are looking for something for younger children that has pictures, here are a few I found that I thought were useful:
do2learn has a lot of pictures that you can use to create a routine.
The happiest home has a simple tutorial if you want to make your own printable chart.
Tips for routine success
Start small–If you change too much at once you will have a mutiny on your hands and it will be difficult for you to remember. Pick the area you care about most to start with.
Train–This is very important. Putting a beautiful list on the door is not enough. The first few days or so that you implement your routine will just be training days. Each day, show your child the list and go through it with them. Teach them the expectations for each thing. A younger child will take longer to do a routine independently than an older child. At some point the child will do the list with no reminders from you. You decide when that point is.
Set a timer–I give my children 45 minutes to do their morning routine and 20 minutes to do their evening routine. If you do not give a time limit, you may find your children dawdle.
Set a consequence– Tell them in advance what the consequence will be. For example, you are sitting at the dinner table, casually say, “We’ve been working hard at starting a morning routine. You should be really proud of your progress. Starting tomorrow, you are going to do the morning routine by yourself. I know that with a little work you will be successful. But if you do not get your morning work done before the timer goes off, you will not have time for breakfast.” Make sure the consequence is something they care about. Other examples might be: no t.v. time, no outside time, no game time…etc.
Follow through–If you do not follow through, your children will not change. You don’t have to remind or nag, let the consequence speak for itself. The first week we did this independently, some of my children didn’t get breakfast on some of the days. When I followed through with the consequence, there were tears of course, but the next day they were successful.
Be positive–When your child fails, remind them that they get a chance to try again tomorrow. Remind them of all the progress they have made. It might also help to discuss why they were unsuccessful and help them come up with ways to stay on task. Although going a few days without breakfast might be enough. It might help to take a picture of their bedroom randomly so that they and you can see the progress they have made over time.
Be positive to yourself–Starting something new is hard. It is easy to forget you are doing a new routine. There were many times when we were eating breakfast and I realized that my children were still in their pajamas. This is normal. Just pick up were you can. “Everyone stop, we haven’t done our morning routine.”
Remember that the goal is improvement. It will get easier and easier as you continue to train your children. Both of you will become more and more consistent.
Did you implement a routine? Share in the comments how it is going.