Developing routines for the family

Developing routines for the family

Tuesday, 07 July 2020

It makes sense to try to retain a level of stability in an uncertain world. But, developing a routine to suit everyone in the household can be a real challenge.

How can a routine be helpful?

  • Helps communicate and manage expectations for everyone in the household
  • Maintains a level of productivity and motivation
  • Ensures that important things get done
  • Necessary for a quality sleep routine
  • Helps differentiate weekends and relaxation time
  • Creates a feeling of comfort in a time of so much uncertainty.

What can help maintain routine?

There is no right or wrong way to approach developing a routine for the family. Schools and workplaces may have expectations and ideas. Parents in your WhatsApp groups might be sharing fantastic schedules and plans. These can all lead to an added sense of pressure.

The most important thing is to find something that works for you, and your family.

Be flexible

Our lives and circumstances are changing all the time, so flexibility is required. What worked at the start might not now. Be prepared to try new ideas and see what fits for you. If possible try to be explicit with young people and include them in changes and trials.

What are your minimum expectations?

Taking it right back to basics, what are the minimum things you need to include in the day? For example, do you have an expectation of shared meal times, or a certain amount of time spent studying? Are you expecting everyone to be up and dressed by a certain time? What are the minimum expectations you have of your young people? Have you been clear about these?

Decide where the boundaries are and what you can negotiate on. For example, you might consider the daily amount of  screen time for your young people.

Get everyone on board

Try to encourage everyone in the household to talk about what they need from a routine. Share why you feel it’s important and what you need. Be prepared to listen and make compromises. Remember communicating clear expectations and agreeing a way forward will really help.

Don’t expect perfection

Even with the best intentions, routines and schedules can fall through. Parents and young people will have bad days. Motivation will wane. When this happens, stop, take a step back and take stock. If it was just a blip, draw a line under it and start again tomorrow. Or adjust the schedule.

Ultimately, there will be a point where routines will go back to normal and that will be a new challenge! In the mean time, be as compassionate as you can with yourself and those in your household. You are doing the best that you can in tricky circumstances.

Even with the best intentions, routines and schedules can fall through.

Watch: Parents talk about how they have developed routines


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