How does a consciously built routine help you build the legacy you want to create for your kids?
What do you think of when you hear the word “routine?” Does it suggest a blank school agenda on the first day of class? Or a course syllabus from college? Does it make you think of monotony and boredom with no room for movement or freedom? Or does it make you feel serene, calm, and have peace of mind?
For some people, the word “routine” can mean negative things, especially if you’re part of a structured environment where creativity and innovation are not welcomed. For others, the word “routine” can mean positive things because it’s a defined set of expectations that they know how to meet repeatedly.
When a routine is forced upon you by someone who doesn’t know how you think, work, or approach problems, a routine can feel like it’s crushing you. But what if you get to define your routine?
The thing about routines is that you are already following them every day; you just never put a name on it. The time you wake up in the morning is a routine. If you shower every day or every other day, it’s part of your routine. Your commute is a routine. If you stop at the coffee shop and order a coffee, that’s part of your routine.
Every single day that you interact in the world, you’re following a pattern of behavior that is called a routine, and you didn’t even know it.
If you want to test that theory out, start a small journal. At the end of every day, write down what you did during the day. You’ll begin to see a pattern. That pattern is the routine you follow and is part of the legacy that you’re leaving for your children.
When you look over your daily pattern, are you happy with what you see?
Do you see that every morning, you’re rushing your kids into the other room to do schoolwork because all sense of order has disappeared from your home in the last few weeks?
Are you and your kids frustrated because you never know what you’re supposed to be doing at any given point in the day?
Up until a few weeks ago, every day was the same. Wake up, go to school/work, eat, school/work, come home, dinner, bed.
Today, all those routines have flown out the window. Humans are creatures of habit, and any little bit of upset in our daily habits is difficult to deal with. (Think about the last time you got stuck in bad traffic on the way to work. Right? Messed up your entire day!)
It’s time to bring the routines BACK into our lives and discover some of our lost peace of mind along the way.
Here are some ways to bring routines back
If you have kids, sit down with them and talk about when they want to do school. Here are a few ways to talk about it:
- Do you want to start your schoolwork at 8 am or at 9 am?
- Do you want to start with reading or math?
- Do you want to do jumping jacks or jump rope (for PE)?
Phrase the questions in a binary fashion so that they feel like they’re in control of creating their schedule. There are some great resources from educators and parents on Pinterest that can help create a more peaceful homeschooling routine so you can also get some work done.
But you also must create and stick to your own routine. If your kids see you following your routine, they’ll be more likely to follow their routine.
Your Routine is part of your Legacy
Your kids won’t remember you because you woke up every morning and made them pancakes. They’ll remember that they could always rely on you and special moments. Reliability is created through consistency and routines.
They’ll think, “My mom was always able to watch me at my soccer games,” or “My dad was always there to coach little league.”
That doesn’t happen by accident. Moms and Dads can do this because they build those activities into their routines. That means that “Mom was there to celebrate my gold medal in swimming,” and “Dad was there to watch me win the Spelling Bee.”
When you decide what is essential, and you define how to be a successful parent, the routine will fall into place.
Here’s how to create your family routine
- Define what being a successful parent means
Before you can create a routine, you must figure out what the goal of that routine is. For most families, the purpose of that routine is to be a successful parent that raises successful children. Once you understand your goal, the rest of your routine will start to define itself.
- Outline your days, weeks, months, and years before they even happen.
I don’t mean plan April 21, 2021, today. I mean, plan according to how events occur and assess each activity and how it contributes to your definition of success. If an event doesn’t support that definition of success, bye Felicia!
First, map out annual events, such as birthdays and anniversaries.
Then, before each season, layer on seasonal events, such as parent-teacher meetings, back to school nights, graduations, sporting games, etc.
Next, the last week of each month, add on the next month’s new events.
Then, each Saturday or Sunday, add on any new events to the next week. You could use this day to define the following week’s meal plan, which means you might save money in buying food.
Then, after dinner each night, add on new events to tomorrow.
It might sound like a lot, but you’ll find that you have so much more time in your life than you realized. You’ll also discover that you can say no to events because they don’t help you meet your overall definition of success.
Just think about how powerful you could be if you tweaked your routine to allow more time for you to build your legacy in the world.
Oh, and PS, don’t use this as an excuse to load up your kids’ schedule with activities and overwhelm yourself. If they’re not enjoying something after giving it an honest try, your routine will become a nightmare. Make sure your kids are part of the process and make sure to set aside some time for you, and some time for you and your spouse.