A while ago I’d just dropped my children off at school at 8.50am and came back home to check my emails. There was an email from our local radio station, Radio Oxford! The email was an invitation for me to speak on the Kat Orman show at 10.40am on the topic of Routines. After a little heart flutter I decided to jump at the opportunity. They were looking for a local life coach and were also approaching an educational psychologist.
It got me thinking about routines, their importance and benefits and also when they can be detrimental.
As a mum, I find routines bring order to the chaotic world of bringing up children. Routines give me structure and confidence that what needs to happen will get done. I also find that a good morning routine sets the tone for the day.
For children, established routines can give a sense of organisation and stability and they find the consistency reassuring. A good routine can reduce anxiety and apprehension. It helps them to plan and be prepared for what is coming up. One key routine is a bedtime. Even though my children are 7 and 9 years old now, they still appreciate the bedtime routine and value quality time with either mummy or daddy. They have a healthy snack before bed, followed by a bath, teeth cleaning, reading time and snuggle time in bed where they often remember to tell me something from the day and we pray together.
Getting out the door in the right state of mind in the mornings is something of an achievement. A good morning routine can make a big difference. I’ve taken to having a list for the children of all the elements which need to be undertaken. It means I don’t have to keep repeating everything over and over again. A friend of mine just says to her 8 year old, ‘You know the routine’ and he knows exactly what to do.
What about healthy routines for parents? Using routines enables you to operate efficiently, saves time, reduces procrastination, enables you to spend time on the things that are important to you. As a parent we often put ourselves last and sometimes this is par for the course, but there comes a point where we need to invest in ourselves. Knowing your re-charge is important. Do you re-charge by meeting a friend, do you re-charge by reading a book, do you re-charge by watching a film. How can you incorporate your re-charge in to a routine so that it actually happens?
Establishing a healthy exercise routine can have so many benefits….but boy it can be difficult to find a regular slot. I’ve taken to getting up before the children are awake and doing a short online yoga routine (I love Yoga with Adriene.) Part of me is still half asleep but I figure that doesn’t really matter and it sets my day off to a good start both mentally and physically.
“Little by little, a little becomes a lot” Healthy routines can become healthy habits.
But for some people, routines feel constrained and zap creativity. I’ve coached a client who loved spontaneity and when we came up with a plan we had to identify all the areas which needed a routine, whilst making sure some we left unplanned to allow for the freedom she needed. There is a place for routine but there is also a need for flexibility and adaptability. It’s not healthy to become obsessed with routines.
So here are some questions to ponder:
What are your top priorities?
Have you created a daily/weekly/monthly routine?
What is your goal to keep you motivated and consistent?
Are you content with your daily life?
I can help you explore these elements and support you to create a plan which works for you.