As much as we may try, external changes like changing jobs, moving to a new home, or a once-in-a-century viral pandemic can get in the way of continuing “life as normal.” Having a routine and structure at home can help your family tackle big changes when they come. Every family is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all routine that will work for your family, but there are some basic strategies to ensure you and your child alleviate unnecessary stress.
Set a standard bedtime and stick to it
Giving your child a bedtime has more than one benefit. Providing your child, regardless of age, with an adequate amount of sleep will help them developmentally and mitigate impulsive behavior, anxiety, and depression. It also creates routine and can be used to set positive behaviors like brushing teeth, showering, and reading before bed. Last, it gives parents an opportunity to relax by themselves and enjoy hobbies or activities without children interfering.
Have dinner together at the table
Busy schedules and after-school obligations may keep you and your kids from sharing a moment together to check in. Having dinner together in a place without interruptions, like a kitchen or dining room table, is a good way to enjoy each other’s company and talk about how they’re doing socially and emotionally. It doesn’t have to be a home cooked meal; even sharing takeout together after a long day can refuel and reset the family for a new day.
Create fun rituals
Saturday movie night, complete with popcorn and everyone’s favorite snacks, is an example of a fun activity your family can do together regularly. In addition to relieving stress and offering entertainment, the memories made during family rituals will last a lifetime. Whether you’re learning new board games or laughing over the latest comedy, the most important thing is that you’re doing it together and your child can look forward to time with you.
Routines can have a significant impact on family life if implemented with everyone’s needs in mind. It can be a collaborative effort between parents, siblings, and all together. It might take a few tries to find what’s best for your family, but stick with it and you will find yourself looking forward to Taco Tuesday or finding a new book to read before bed.