It was a Tuesday morning and my kids and I were trying to get out the door to our Latin and writing classes.
Tuesdays are particularly hectic because not only are we at these classes from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, which requires us to bring lunches for all three of us, but we have to be at Kung Fu, in the neighboring city by 4:30 – 4:30 is when they have to be changed into a uniform, in sparring gear and ready to roll.
Read that again. It’s one sentence. Does that tell you enough about Tuesdays?
That morning we weren’t feeling it
In fact, we were snapping at each other and the kids were having a hard time finding parts of uniforms and homework assignments.
I was getting grumpier by the second and the kids were following suit. Eventually we were all blaming each other and feeling stressed out and the day had only just begun.
As we drove to class, I took the opportunity to reflect upon what had just happened. We brainstormed ways to remedy the situation for the following weeks.
With a few prompts we all decided that creating a routine would help us.
I am happy to say that now we begin preparing for Tuesdays on Monday afternoon.
We have made a routine
The kids have two bags to pack, one for school and one for Kung Fu.
When they get home from school on Mondays, they are to empty their backpacks and repack them with the binders needed for Latin and writing.
They are to check that their homework is finished and that the pages are stapled appropriately.
Next they pack their Kung Fu bags.
This step is tricky and I have held a boundary of not packing this bag for them.
They know what they need and are to pack each important piece of the uniform. (They have forgotten integral parts, like pants and t-shirts. I have held a strong boundary and not “saved” them by running home and grabbing the forgotten items.)
Lunch packing has become a group effort.
We are in a much happier place when we do this part of the routine and we enjoy doing it together.
This routine is fairly new.
We are still working out the kinks, but each week the routine gets tighter and cleaner. The kids see the benefit of the routine and know that they do not want to return to the out of control mornings that once were happening.
Routines have helped us from the beginning
If I think about it, routines have been important for us since the beginning.
Early in their development I set them on routines for sleep and for eating. I’d read a book called “On Becoming Baby-wise” and it made sense to me.
My kids took to the routines well. We fed the kids on waking up, played for a bit and then I taught them to self-soothe to sleep.
Later, we had a strong bedtime routine that included dinner, quiet play, bath, snuggles, books read together and then lullabies while we rocked before being put into bed awake, but drowsy.
The kids knew where the routine was leading and by the time they were placed into bed there was rarely any fuss.
Predictability helps gifted kids
The predictability of routines seemed to really benefit my kids.
I’ve been using them from the beginning and when things are starting to fall apart that is one of the things I look at first. Do we need a new routine or does the routine we have need to be tightened up or changed?
In fact, we just had to adjust our bedtime routine to work for my growing children. We always read together at night. We love that time together. Then I would send the kids up to brush their teeth and do whatever else needed to be done in the bathroom before they were tucked into bed and prayed for.
Just recently, however, the kids started fighting in the bathroom. We had a meeting and decided that this routine wasn’t working anymore.
The routine has changed so that neither child is upstairs in the bathroom at the same time, and we are all happier for it.
Lots of kids and adults benefit from routines. Kids with sensory issues, fast processing speeds and strong emotions seem to really require routines to help them interact and succeed in life.