Parenting can be hectic and stressful, but with the right routines in place, parenting can be easier and more enjoyable. Children need structure in their lives. Having routines makes them feel safe, loved, and secure. There are also practical benefits to implementing routines. A bedtime routine helps ensure that children get the sleep they need to develop properly. A designated time for homework helps kids keep up with their schoolwork. A schedule for chores teaches children responsibility, and encourages them to think of their family as a team that works together. Although each family has individual needs and you will want to make sure that any routine you start will work for your children, routines can make it possible for you to enjoy an organized, orderly life.
For many dads, the thought of establishing routines seems overwhelming. Some routines are more difficult to establish than others, such as chore schedules and bedtimes. Children might initially be resistant to routines that require them to go to bed on time or help out around the house. Do not let your child’s initial reluctance prevent you from living an organized life. Start by sitting down with your children and explaining both the new routine and the reasons behind it. You might consider easing the transition by offering a special reward or treat if they follow their new routine. If you are patient but firm, within a few weeks your children should adjust to both the new schedule and your new expectations. It might take some time for you to establish routines and you may need to make minor adjustments before you find a schedule that works for you and your kids.
Ease the Transition Between School and Home
For many parents, the time immediately after school can be difficult. After their long day in the classroom, many children come home tired and cranky. Consider developing a routine that will ease the transition between school and home. A healthy snack can be a great afternoon pickup, and can give them a chance to talk about their day with you. You could also have the kids play outside (weather permitting) for a half an hour after they get home from school. Regular physical activity is crucial for healthy, happy kids, so make sure you include some form of exercise in your household’s routine.
School-aged children should have a designated time each day when they do their homework or review their lessons. Make it part of the routine that each child needs to clean out their backpacks each day. A parent can help younger children organize their schoolwork, and staying on top of the paper clutter your children bring home can help you avoid missing important notes from teachers. On a day when your child does not have a lot of homework to do, encourage them to read or do another mentally-stimulating activity, such as a science experiment or an art project. Setting aside this time for quiet study and educational activities now will be helpful when your child reaches high school and needs to study regularly in order to achieve academic success.
Mandate Family Quiet Time
Although it is important to spend time interacting with your children, independent play can help children develop self-sufficiency and confidence. Set aside a time each day for your children to play quietly by themselves. Having some quiet time built in to your family’s routine can also help you enjoy some time for yourself. Although parenting is probably the most important part of any father’s life, it is important that dads have an opportunity to pursue their own interests.
Schedule Time for Housekeeping and Cooking Tasks
Cleaning and cooking seem like never-ending tasks, but a housekeeping schedule can help families stay on top of the housework. Although many children resist doing chores, if the entire family works together at the same time, this can encourage children to view cleaning and cooking as cooperative family efforts.