I love a good routine.
Except when I don’t.
It’s nice to have a break from the daily grind and mix things up a bit, until everyone starts going a little bonkers with no routine. Which is exactly what happened in our house after Christmas. I realize that the days leading up to Christmas are filled with anxiety and anticipation for kids. Even after Christmas the anticipation of New Year’s Eve (for one of our kids it’s also a birthday) is a bit overwhelming. The food, the parties, the gifts, the people, all combine for the perfect storm of sensory overload.
Purpose for the Day
I’m immensely glad we did school work right through the Friday before Christmas. We could have actually worked a few more days and that would have been beneficial. Not so much to get through more school, but to give our day purpose.
The Monday and Tuesday after Christmas we spent the mornings doing a bit of reading, math and science. It only took a little while and made the entire day go so much more smoothly. I often think “I’m not doing school today, I need a break!” However, a day that lacks purpose for my kids ends up being a free for all of bickering, squabbles and boredom. That kind of day doesn’t sound like much of a break for anyone. I’m okay with boredom, but I don’t want to spend a vacation day being a referee and a police officer.
A Purpose Made Clear
After the New Year I told the kids that I had several small projects I wanted to work on and it was an entertain yourself day. That was their purpose for the day – to make their own fun. You know what? They spent the day outside, swimming, coloring and doing other simple crafty activities. Actually they spent several days making their own fun, with a minimum of squabbles.
I made my expectations clear at the beginning of the day, it wasn’t will-nilly like I can often do on vacation days, or weekends or any other day we aren’t following a typical schedule. Everyone likes to know their expectations. In fact, on the weekends my husband will ask me in the morning “what are your goals today?”. He’s not talking big, life changing goals, he’s talking about the little things like getting groceries and cleaning the house. I will ask him the same. That way we are both on the same page about our purpose for the day and we work together to get tasks accomplished.
Our kids appreciate the same information instead of always being left in the dark about how the day is going to unfold. Or asking a hundred times to go and do activities that my husband and I have no intention of doing on that particular day. Beginning the day with a clear purpose just makes sense for everyone.
Do you find this to be true in your house?