1. Parenting

How To Make a Daily Routine

Tips to help make a schedule that works for you and your children.

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Chaos is the enemy of any parent's day. When the house is in chaos, behavioral problems and tantrums run rampant. Instituting a daily routine can help curb these problems and make way for a more peaceful and fun home.

Sit down and decide what needs to be done everyday. Meals and nap times should be at the top of this list. These items may seem common sense, but hungry, tired kids suffering from an overly late lunch and inconsistent sleep times fight, scream, and cry at the littlest stressor. Having these everyday events scheduled can tame a lot of those fits.

Now add your routine into theirs. What time do you go to work, or run errands? What time do they leave for the school bus or get dropped off at school? Be sure to add these activities in as well, giving yourself enough time to get everyone dressed and out the door.

Once you have figured out the basic routine that happens everyday, it's time to move on to daily activities for you and your children. If your children are home with you, be sure to add in time for both free play and productive play. Free play is play time that is unstructured and can be done with you or by themselves. Constructive play is an activity that is educational and done with you, this is more structured and tends to need more planning then free play.

If you find you need more inspiration for constructive play time, try giving each day of the week a theme. Monday can be music day, Tuesday can be math day, Wednesday can be science, etc...

One of the most important aspects of any routine is to keep it flexible. A rigid routine can be just as bad as no routine at all. There has to be some freedom for unexpected events, discoveries, and fun. Having a set schedule is meant to help you keep all those balls your juggling fly smoothly.

When all the times and events are in place and in the order that will work for you and your family, find a big piece of poster board or a chalk board. Write down the schedule and hang it where everyone can see. This way every member of your household (including babysitters and other caregivers) can refer to the routine. This is an easy way to create consistency for your child.

It can be easy to get frustrated when you first implement the routine. Give yourself time to adjust to the change. And remember, you can always adjust the routine as you learn what works and what doesn't.

Having a daily routine seems like such a simple thing, but don't discount this simple tool. Keeping a routine, that you stick too, really can help keep the peace (most of the time) in your home.

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