Routines

Routines

Routines and daily flow are going to look different to each family. Each day might look slightly different. Children in a multi-family or co-parenting dynamic will learn what the rules, routines and flow look like in each family setting, just as children adapt to these in a daycare or school environment.

In my household this is what our daily flow looks like regardless of what our daily schedule looks like (eg a school day or home day, practitioner appointments after school etc).

Wake Up

Girls can read or do quiet activities in their room until 6.30am which is wake up time. They each have a clock and know what ‘6.30’ looks like. I implemented this rule as without it the girls were waking up earlier and earlier especially in summer and coming into my bedroom – and before they wake up is when I get a lot of ‘me’ stuff done!’. I find this boundary (rule) works well for everyone in our family.

After 6.30 wake up time

Girls make their beds and get dressed.

Breakfast time together

Girls do their hair and brush teeth (and shoes and socks on, gather school stuff etc if a school day)

~whatever happens for the morning~

Morning Tea

We always eat together (if they aren’t at school). We eat when we are hungry.

~whatever happens for the afternoon~

Afternoon tea

Together, usually around 3pm. 

~more playing etc~

Dinnertime

We always eat together. Dinner time signals the start of our bedtime routine.

Bath or shower time, brush teeth.

Read books

Self Care Circle

Sit in a circle and do “I am” statements, we choose affirmation cards, say things we are grateful about and what our favourite part of the day was.

Toilet!

Daily debrief

This tool is a vital element in reducing tantrums and helping children feel safe in my opinion. The daily debrief is the last thing that happens before bed. I individually tell each of the girls what will be happening the next day specifically as it is relevant to them as I tuck them individually into bed. For example:

Child 1 – “Tomorrow is Tuesday so I’m going to pick you up from school early at 1.30 so we can go to the OT. I will bring afternoon tea so we can eat on the way”

Child 2 – “Tomorrow is Tuesday, you have baking at school on Tuesdays. Do you know what you will be baking? I’m going to pick you both up at 1.30 as ‘Child 1’ has her OT appointment, I will bring afternoon tea in the car for us.”

If you are unsure of something, tell the child that, for example: “Tomorrow afternoon I might be a bit late so it will either be me or Nan that will pick you up from school. Either way one of us will be coming to get you ok!”

This leaves the child with a sense of calm and knowing what is ahead. The only word of caution I would give with this is for a child who is overly anxious towards a particular event, in that instance I give minimal notice as this eliminates unnecessary ‘build up’ time as often the ‘build up’ is worse than the event itself. An example of this would be with getting a blood test: half an hour before the appointment I say, “My baby, we are going to get you a blood test today, in about half an hour. It’s not going to be the greatest, we might both even cry, but we are getting our feelings out which is sooo ok! We will do our deep breathing to get through it and I even have this magical numbing cream we can put on you so you pretty much won’t be able to feel it!! How awesome is that!”.Note how I ended on a high note and not once did I lie or say it was going to ‘not hurt’ – I was truthful. And yes, this was a real life example, and yes we both cried, and yes, we were completely fine and not traumatised afterwards at all!

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