3 Family Routine Ideas
Did you know setting a routine for your children not only helps you to navigate your time but sets your children up for success in feeling secure, responsible and confident? Well it does!
Bedtime routines are far from normal in our Artist home. For us, going to sleep at 2-4 in the morning was completely normal and something we thought we would always do but as we started to read more and more on studies about child development through brilliant books like Brighton Baby and further studies on the patterns of baby sleep through several studies, we began to rethink how we would raise our little one.
Photography by Melissa J Leslie-Quinones / Dress by Zara / Moccasins by Authentic Native Made / Knee socks by tlcrochetknitting / Wooden rabbit by Manzanitakids / Toy deer by Maileg / Book by Emily Winfield Martin
"A young child’s brain is still undergoing major development, especially the part of the brain that is able to plan ahead and make predictions about the future. A routine helps kids practice making these simple predictions, as well as understand concepts such as “before and after.” Routines also help children develop self-control because they know they have to wait until a certain time to do a particular activity. A regular schedule fosters responsibility and independence because children will be able to perform more activities on their own if they have done the same activities many times before in the same environment."-Lisa Medoff
Here are 4 tips on how to begin setting a routine for your children at an early age...
Night & Day for a Newborn
As a newborn we began setting the tone for night and day. In the day we would push the drapes wide open for the sun to pour in the windows. We would have music on or include our baby when we had conversations to let baby know day time was appropriate for activity, engaging and noise. When the sun began to set we would make sure all the lights we used in our home were warm vintage bulbs to help our circadian rhythms.
White noise helped tremendously to help baby transition into sleep and offset any noise from walking on creeky wood floors, flushing the toilet or outside noise from traffic etc.
Family Meal Time
This one has been really hard lately as we are getting ready for the big trip, packing our home, visiting family and friends as much as possible while staying afloat with all our dreams and business. Nevertheless, family meal time ranks pretty high on our priorities to stay connected as a family. A great friend once said, the key is to over communicate. I would have to agree! This is something I truly want to set the tome for in our home. It should be a place where we all feel secure enough that there is no topic that is taboo or off limits. Breakfast, lunch or dinner time is a perfect place lock away the gadgets and converse.
Set a time for sleep and keep it. We like to begin sleep mode around 7pm. This means we either head to bath time followed by coconut oil and lavender massage and story time or simply story time. Either way, we always make it a point to close our day in prayer together as a family as the lights have been dimmed and we are all in our bed. When it's officially time to sleep she knows and most times happily giggles and curls up in our laps with a book to read. This is how i know all those times even as a tiny newborn weren't just hopes and dreams of establishing times for one one one engagement and security. She really has tuned into a routine and finds joy in that one on one time.
Our mornings can quickly go into 'lets get up and get seize the day!' with all our 'to do' lists that kept us awake last night. We do our best to wake up with crumbs in our eyes, holding hands and praying. You would be surprised how much beginning with thankfulness sifts out your priorities and sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Not every day will pan out exactly the same if there are big projects, early morning meetings or any other out-of-the-ordinary activities on cue. Being vocal and communicating that this night or day is different helps to set a tone of adapting to change by being flexible.
Simply tell them "I know we usually do this, but tonight we're staying up later because...and tomorrow we will sleep at our regular time again." Your children might want to try and make every night a late night but consistency and routine gives them stability and confidence in you and in boundaries and limits.
I would love to hear from you parents out there! How has routine helped your family? What are somethings you do to set the tone of your home?
Hi, I'm Melissa I want you to gain back your confidence & energy in the way you think, speak and act through life-giving decisions. Health is an excellent way to exercise stewardship for the service of others.