The importance of creating routines for children early on and what has worked for us with multiple children ourselves. How to create easy daily routines.
Creating routines for children with the Talk. Read. Sing® concept can be comforting for them, and predictable for you too. I don’t know if it is the teacher in me or whether it’s just in my DNA but I am a planner and love routines. My kids seem to thrive on the routines too.
I was young when my first daughter was born and quite frankly I kinda’ winged it when it came to bedtime routines, bath times, meals, etc….
- When my second daughter came along I had a few years of parenting under my belt and was confident in my abilities, but definitely wanted to create a predictable routine with both of them from the start so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed with two kids and we would have less challenges coordinating everyone’s schedules.
Here are a few things I wanted to incorporate into our daily routine:
- Reading time
- Play time
- Bath time
- Dinner time together
- Night time ritual
Now my kids are great at trying new foods, going to sleep at 8 on the dot, taking a bath and reading, but let me tell you how I got here! I didn’t have a lot of money to hire an expert in all of these fields so finding free resources online was key! First 5 California is a great and absolutely free resource for parents with a plethora of information, free ebooks, and more all in one place.
You can find so much of what you may be looking for as far as activities you can do with your kids (like a recipe for playdough), how to incorporate their Talk, Read, Sing® concept in your own home, and much more. THIS is the kind of site that was a gold mine for me at the time. Using some of their ideas regarding play time is a good place to start!
One routine I wanted to incorporate into our daily routine was dinner together. I started slow, one day a week was my goal for a month and then increased it from there. Now we are at a steady 3 days a week, and sometimes more frequently, and I will tell you that it not only gives my children the predictability of dinner time (which they love) but has been a great way to connect with everyone each day for me as well!
The importance of talking with your children when you are all unplugged is super important and establishing the routine of having dinner together and playing the round table game of “what was the best part of your day?” dialogue can last their whole lives…and hopefully they will continue with it when they have children.
- We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how open my teenage daughter is now when telling us about her day during this roundtable and I don’t think she would be if this wasn’t a routine of ours.
Reading to your children at an early age helps with brain development and brings you closer as you talk and hold them on your lap. First 5 California explores this concept online and shares their findings here. The first 5 years are really important and if you can establish a reading routine early on, they will be more likely to pick up books later and become life long readers themselves.
The play part is easy to incorporate into your routine of course, but designating a time of day that works every day for you helps with predictability and scheduling as well. Start by writing down a time each day you want to do each one of these things. Cross them off or erase and move to a different time slot if it doesn’t work for you 2 days in a row. After a while it will become so routine for you too that it will be just like clockwork.
Establishing a routine at bedtime was the most important part for me as a parent with multiple children so it ensured everyone (including myself) was well rested and thus in a good mood the next day. There are tons of resources out there but for me establishing a dinner time, then bath time, then reading, then off to sleep the same times each night worked well for us.
Children (ok, and me) love predicting what will come next and it just comes naturally after a while that….”oh, we read now it’s time to go to sleep”. Not only do children need ample sleep each night to be refreshed and ready to learn at School the next day, you too need some alone time with your spouse to talk about your day. Especially if you both work full time (like we do) it is important to have a few hours each night to connect!