The most challenging task for any mom on a regular basis is to get things done on time. It maybe our own work or that of the house or kids, and if you’re like me, an undone to-do list in the head can get really frustrating towards the end of the day. I have learned the hard way that routines are not just for the kids to follow but also for the whole family; especially the mother.
It’s crucial to keep these routines practical, implementable, and easy to set and maintain. And taking one step at a time is the best. I have noticed tremendous change in myself when I know how the day will go. There will always be unpredictable moments, but for the most part I am set.
Now depending on what type of lifestyle, and family set up you have the routine would be different. But I will share the most common routine activities.
- Sleep- The amount of sleep should depend on the childs need. My daughter needs 12hrs of sleep for her age, she’s in PP1 and very energetic, without her 12 hour sound sleep, she’s a cranky girl. I make sure she’s in bed 1.5 hours after dinner. That way the food has digested quite a bit, her tummy is full but not straining her body. She dozes off within 15 mins and gets up 11.5 or 12 hours. She will get up for drinking water, or a loo visit but that’s it. I do not give her nap time during the day. This is the secret. We often feel that the children need a nap, but technically they don’t if they’re getting all their sleep in one stretch. In fact that sleep does a better job, as it’s deep and even the child knows that there’s going to be a good amount of it.
- Meals- Balanced and one time. This is the mantra. No sugar or sugary food/junk food after 5pm. This is great to mellow down any hyperactivity also, and since we ourselves are moving toward the end of the day, if children are calm we can also slowly start to unwind. Fruits, vegetables, protein in terms of meat (if your’re non-ved ie) everyday. Balance it out, and don’t think your child actually needs a second lunch after the school lunch. They just don’t. Give them a fruit or vegetable, big glass of milk etc. Tiny portions throughout the day will help maintain energy levels and also make sure that the food is actually absorbed. Meal time if is followed to the clock, then children will get their energy boost on regular intervals, this helps them stay sane and focused till they fall asleep.
- Chill time before sleeping- An hour or 30mins before bed time should be relaxing. Reading a book, laying around talking, family talk time, getting organised for the next day etc. These things mentally prepare the child for ‘tomorrow’, and help them unwind, before they doze off. It will speed the process of actually falling asleep also. My daughter loves lying around and talking, we cuddle, and I ask her for what she wants to talk about. And it’s a great way to bond with your child. The too look forward to that time where they feel safe, and comfortable. It’s the perfect way to end the day for them, and start the next day in a positive sense.
- Play and study time- Structured time for play and study helps the children to stay focused. It becomes part of their body cycle. These timings should be scheduled such that the other routines don’t get hurt. For example, Studying right after school, will not bring positive results, playing before sleeping will get the child hyper and excited. Studying with an empty stomach won’t be productive. So timings are crucial. Also getting some input from the child will motivate them to stick to the schedule as well.
It’s not necessary that all schedules should be same for all kids, every child is different, and separate/unique routines will make them feel special as well. When the children are settled in their routines, you will know when you will have time for yourself. And the most important part of any mothers everyday routine should be ‘me time’. This is best if it’s in the end of the day, when they’re all in bed. And since we don’t need 12hours of sleep, we can use the extra hours of peace and quiet by unwinding and prepping ourselves, mentally, physically and emotionally for the next day.
I have noticed a tremendous sense of confidence in my daughter, in fact she values it so much that she doesn't ever crib or cry to not sleep, or not eat, or not do her HW. Because even at 4.5yrs she's felt the benifits of sticking to a routine.
What are some of your routine secrets? Or what issues do you face while sticking to a routine?