Friday, May 6, 2011

The calming effect of Routines

Calm seas at sunset - North Brighton Beach
I'm a reader. Mostly non-fiction lately, but when I pick up a novel it's hard to stop. 400 pages in a day and no clean dishes and I still can't stop.

In August I'm starting an online graduate program in MLIS. If I don't get the basics under control, the classes will be too stressful on top of being full-time mom and wife to a PhD student.

So I'm reluctantly turning to routines. I love thinking them up; following through isn't my strength. This week Josh suggested a morning routine. His self-ascribed primary love language is other people heeding his advice, so I paid attention. All week the first hour of my day has felt worthwhile.

1. Kids get up, sit at the table while I make breakfast. They can't play because we have downstairs neighbors who like to sleep in.
2. They eat, I eat. We eat together.
3. Leo draws or plays quietly while Guy does school*.

That's it. All these things correspond to goals I have for my family. Simple, but I feel so accomplished. What's stopping you from integrating your goals and values into our daily life? Doesn't matter what it is, right now I'll just say this; routine makes kids feel safe and happy.

What can you do? Breakfast at the same time every day. Doing your bedtime tasks in the same order. Reading together every day after lunch. Lighting a candle before dinner.

So if you're feeling uninspired (should that be our code word for lazy?) remember that ROUTINE MAKES KIDS FEEL SAFE AND HAPPY. Safe and happy means calmer kids. And we all want some of those!

*He works on memorizing a scripture, and then reads his phonics readers to me and practices writing. (Letters to family, a grocery list, or simply copywork).


  1. E- how do you help him memorize a scripture? We've started singing the articles of faith, but I'm having a hard time learning the German ones. I need time to practice :)

    Okay- routines-- Lukas gets up, we cuddle with a book (or run around in tantrum til food, but I'm going with ideal here) then he sits at the table for Bfast. During his food, we review the letter of the week, the shape of the week, the painting of the month, the scripture story (a picture from nursery- still "Jesus is resurrected") The shapes, the paintings, and the story are labeled in simple words to promote literacy. On Mondays we start a new letter, so we try to get to drawing things on a piece of paper that start with that letter. I draw them with magic marker, label them, and then Lukas colors them. Then he gets a new piece of paper where he tries to "write" the letters as I guide his hand and then alone, and draw pics of the stuff we drew on my paper. It's usually completely unrecognizable, but I'm glad he's writing. So is he. I think. I just have to be disciplined to do it. I've gone a week or so before without, and we all kind of needed the break, I think. But, yes, it was needed again after that week. Boo yeah for routines.

  2. Congrats on your graduate program! That sounds so exciting.

  3. Oh, you are so inspirational! I really bite at routines, but there is a little bird on my shoulder that keeps telling me I need to do one. I guess we have our basic routine, but I would love to do more/have it more set in stone. We mainly have a bed time routine and the kids will tell me when I don't do something!lol

    As for memorizing scriptures - I've had success with working on a portion of a scripture before bed for a minute (A few workds at a time and then they repeat, then you, etc. x3 until you are throught the scripture). Usually by the end of the month they have the one they need for Primary memorized. For the Articles of Faith I created little books 4-6 pages long with a picture and some of the words written below. We read them as bed time stories and I will catch them reading them on their own. We had nursery rhyme books that were given to us a few years ago that were like this and the kids know all of them word for word, so I thought it might work for the A of F.

  4. That's really good to read, I should be better about having a more set up routine. For scriptures, we're pretty good about reading them together, but it didn't even occur to me to start memorizing them with Samuel. Now's a good time to start! :0)