After any school holiday it can be difficult to get your children whether they are the small or consider themselves grown up to get back into school and a routine.
It may sound boring but routines are good.
The thing is I am probably the last person who should be spouting off about routines as I have never been the most organised person.
However what I have noted by observing my much more organised friends is they all have adopted some set routines they follow. Not always religiously, but certainly consistently.
The thing about routines is that they save time. Things happen automatically and certainly with kids it can save endless nagging.
The kids going back to school is a really good time to start thinking about introducing some new routines not just for the children but for us busy mums too.
Routines can be something as simple as cleaning your teeth before going to bed or something more challenging like getting to the gym.
So it might be a good idea to give some thought to what subtle changes you might be able to introduce to make life run a little smoother.
So how can you go about adopting new routines and drag the family along with you in this quest?
Well like most things in life you need to start by doing a bit of planning and preparation. (Actually a great routine to get into the habit of doing). So adopt a business hat and imagine you are running a small company. After all running a home and family has many things in common with running a business.
Grab a note-book and brainstorm what are the most stressful times during your day. For most people the common areas are bedtimes, mealtimes and getting out of the house in the morning. All of which are connected – and all which will impact the children and you as they start back to school.
Then consider the problem. Let’s use kid’s bedtimes as an example.
Firstly examine what you are looking to achieve. Then consider the trigger points when time runs away or tempers get frayed. Ask yourself what you can do differently to make bedtimes less stressful.
It maybe that you switch bath times, to a shower, watch less telly. Leave the clearing up until the kids are in bed. Have dinner earlier or later. Don’t take phone calls or log on to the computer. Enlist the help of others in the house, or even get ready bed yourself.
Realistically you will probably have to think outside the box and maybe find you have to make some difficult compromises, like perhaps foregoing your favourite soaps. Write all your solutions down. I promise you will find that more ideas and solutions will come to you as you embark on this exercise.
Once you have given some logical and careful thought to how you can improve your current routine – or habit. Make the changes and stick to it consistently and refine it to help it work even better.
If you are struggling with making changes, one other thing to remember, is that all routines are really just habits, but mainly habits with a positive ring to them. So if habits are often bad routines, then perhaps to change or remove the bad habit we need to change or replace the bad routine.
Think about it. If like many mums you are trying to make a real effort to get the family to eat more healthily or watch less television, before you try to change the behaviour you need to change the routines which sits behind the behaviour. Then a good habit or routine will follow more easily.
Spending time examining the behaviour behind a habit or an ineffective routine is likely to result in much more long-term success. For example: if you want the children to eat more healthily, then you need to make sure that there is a good range of healthy food in the house. This means in turn you need to do a healthy shop and work out some healthy recipes.
So seize the next week and adopt some new routines to help you and the kids when they go back to school. Good luck and have fun with this.