by Karen Delano, Parent Coach, Educator, and Mom of 3
Mom life can be frustrating, busy and chaotic.
Frustrating. Like when you sound like a broken record because every day you have to nag remind your kids to do the same exact things – brush their teeth, put their dirty clothes in the laundry, pick up their toys… Why can’t they just do what they’re asked?!?!
Busy. You find yourself doing all-the-things because if you don’t, who will? It’s overwhelming and exhausting just trying to keep up!
Chaotic. It seems like just when you’ve got one thing under control something (or someone) else demands your attention. You’re constantly reacting and flying by the seat of your pants.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way!
Develop a routine. A well established routine will make life so much easier and will also set the foundation for more cooperation and connection in your family! Win-win!
Every day there are recurring activities we do based on anchor points like waking up, meal time, bedtime, etc. The great thing is that since you’re already doing all these things, creating a routine doesn’t add more to your plate. This solution focuses on being more intentional about how things get done so your family’s day will flow, tasks will become automatic and transitions will be smoother.
What to do
Start by picking one part of your day where you feel like things are really stressful or out-of-control. Mornings? Bedtime? Brainstorm what needs to get done.
For adults, you can simply write a list. While it seems silly to write down things like brush your teeth and wash your face, it’s so much easier to not think about what comes next. Especially if you get interrupted!
Visual plans are best for kids. Enlist their help to draw or print out photos or symbols for each step and glue them on a piece of paper. Depending on their age, you might let your child decide what order they’ll accomplish these steps because the more they make the plan their own, the more likely they’ll be to follow it!
Hang the routine where it will be easy to “read.” When your child can see what they need to do you’ll eliminate power struggles because you won’t have to constantly tell them. And if they get off track you can just point to the visual without needing to say a thing.
No two routines will look the same or work the same because every child and family is different. Just find what works for you, and if it doesn’t work you can always change or tweak the routine later.
How many steps should you have really depends on your child. Generally, younger kids will have fewer steps and kids that need a lot of direction will have more. For example, just saying get your backpack ready for school could be too vague. Your child might need a reminder of what that involves – homework, snack, water, etc would also be listed.
How it helps parents
- Your authority as a parent is strengthened when your kids feel there’s order and that you’re in control.
- You’re able to talk less and won’t have to tell your kids what to do (over and over again). Then, when you do speak they’re more likely to listen.
- Decision fatigue is a real thing! When you don’t have to make so many small decisions you’ll have the energy to put in to deciding more important things.
How it helps kids
- Kids thrive on knowing what’s expected and what comes next.
- The same repeated steps give a sense of security in the things that can be counted on every day.
- Kids will increase their mastery and competence of lifelong skills.
- Kids who feel more independent and in charge of themselves have less need to be oppositional, which means fewer power struggles.
So there you have it!
Focus on establishing some solid routines and life will be easier for everyone. You’ll find that you’re not so frustrated anymore – the kids are cooperating. You’re not so busy anymore – everyone is responsible for what they need to get done. And it’s not so chaotic – you’re able to enjoy and be present with your kids.
Author: Karen Delano is a parent coach, educator, and mom of three. She shares tools and strategies that reduce kid’s challenging behaviors while helping moms slow down and simplify so they can live intentionally and be the mom they want to be. You can find her and learn how it can be simple at http://ifitweresimple.com/ or join the Facebook community at Simplicity Moms