Family life can be overwhelming at times, so what can you do to stay sane? Keep things simple, have a routine, and be flexible. It’s pretty easy if you set some guidelines for the rhythm of your life that everyone in your family can adhere to. The end result? You’ll be left with more time for Mom and Dad and that’s a really sweet thing.
When I was a new mom I felt strongly about teaching my baby to nap at home in her crib so she could develop healthy sleep habits. Sure, she’d have the odd snooze in the car or stroller, but most days her routine was to have a morning and afternoon nap in the crib. This predictable nap time gave my daughter healthy, undisturbed sleep, and in turn gave me healthy, much needed time for myself to do whatever I pleased. Well, it’s still the same with older children and adults. Make sleep a top priority for your family to ensure they get enough of it to be happy and healthy.
It’s important to:
- Have clearly defined nap and/or bedtimes for each member of the family and stick to them as often as you can.
- Try to maintain a consistent before bed ritual each night. Tidy room, lay out clothing for next day, bathe or wash up, brush teeth, tell a story, read or listen to music, and lights out.
- Be flexible when it comes to special events that keep your children up later than usual. You can get back to your regular routine the next day.
- Wake up with enough time to start your day off right. When times are hectic, things are missed and children and parents become stressed.
Don’t over schedule. Your child’s school day is busy enough. Set clear guidelines for how many extracurricular activities they can participate in and stick to them. Don’t let children organize play dates as you’re picking them up from school. This is the quickest way to burn them out. They may seem full of energy coming off of their busy day, but they will melt down quickly if they don’t have any downtime at the end of their day.
- Play dates should be a special occurrence for younger children, not a regular routine.
- On days with no activities, ensure your child comes home, has an after school snack and enjoys some free time before doing their homework. Kids need some days to relax and do nothing.
- The More Time Moms Family Organizer lets kids help with planning by placing stickers to mark activities, play dates and special activities. This will help them prepare for the week ahead.
Some of these guidelines may seem obvious, but I think we all need reminders from time to time on how to simplify our schedules and keep a regular routine. Kids thrive on having boundaries and they feel comfort in knowing what is coming next. Spontaneous events, late nights and special vacations are all great, but everyone feels good about coming home to a familiar routine after the sparkle wears off.
By Kristen Wint