Sometimes, as an outsider looking in at another family’s routines, it is easy to wind up feeling discouraged or overwhelmed. If you’ve been feeling that way during our series on rhythm and routines this month, I want to gently remind you that most family’s routines probably didn’t fall into place in one day or even one week.
In fact, a common trend I’ve noticed among families who have steady rhythms in place is that these routines evolved for them over time. Some of their routines are still evolving.
They make small changes and adapt along the way. They tinker. They adjust. They take baby steps.
If you are a parent wondering how to begin making changes to your child’s current routines, or if you just want to know how to get started creating rhythm, my advice to you is to keep it simple. Start small. Set realistic goals. Give yourself time to make changes.
Specifically, give it 15 minutes.
You might be surprised at what a difference the adjustment of a quarter of an hour can make to your days. Making over your entire day all at once? A daunting task. Making small changes, with big benefits, just 15 minutes at a time? Now that is something you can do!
Ten Changes You Can Make, 15 Minutes at a Time:
- Spend 15 minutes preparing the night before for the day ahead
- Set your clock for 15 minutes earlier in the morning
- Get in the habit of spending 5 minutes immediately after each meal washing the dishes with your child (3 meals a day = 15 minutes)
- Start your bedtime routine 15 minutes earlier in the evening
- Spend 15 minutes outside with your child and work your way up to an hour (or more!)
- Do 15 minutes of structured play or crafting with your child
- Spend 15 minutes reading to your child.
- Take in 15 minutes of peace and quiet. Do nothing. Slow down.
- Have a 15 minute Tea Time or After School Snack with your child
- Set one 15 minute toy pick-up at the end of the day (or three 5 minute toy pick-ups during the day)
Individually, these items are fairly easy to accomplish. Keep in mind that I am not encouraging you to do ALL of these things at once.
What I am asking you to consider is spending just 15 minutes every day working on one intentional change that you want to see take place. Spend 15 minutes a day cultivating the habit and you are on your way toward developing a rhythm.
Work your new routine into the fabric of your daily lives and then, once everyone is comfortable and your time is flowing smoothly, add in something new.
Take your time. Tweak. Tinker.
There is no time-crunch here, no deadline. Layer things in as you need them, take them away as you don’t. These ideas are just the seeds, the rhythm that grows from them will be unique to your family.
Above all, keep it simple.
As we head back to school, what changes do you need to make in your family’s routine? Can you break them down into smaller steps?