How is anyone supposed to set up and follow routines for children in the chaos of parenthood?
The thing is, having healthy routines for children will actually reduce stress in your life!
By knowing what is supposed to happen and when it is supposed to happen will help you feel like less a chicken running around with its head cut off.
That’s not to say that your routine won’t get derailed from time to time. The beauty of having routines for your children is the flexibility of making changes when your schedule requires it.
As long as you try to maintain consistency with your evening routine, everyone benefits!
Why Are Routines Important For Children?
Routines for children are beneficial in a number of ways!
First of all, it provides your child with a sense of safety and belonging. When your home environment is organized and predictable, your little ones will feel safe and cared for.
This is super helpful if you have a teenager dealing with puberty (fun!), are expecting a new addition to your family, or are planning to move to a new house.
Routines also ensure that your children know that you are prioritizing quality time with them, whether it’s sharing a meal with them, reading them a bedtime story, or playing some video games together to wind down.
Routines for children also foster independence and responsibility by teaching them skills such as time management as well as ensuring certain chores are taken care of.
Overall, routines can reduce your child’s stress!
Why Are Routines Important for Parents?
You have a stake to claim when it comes to the benefits of routines too!
Having routines for your children will help you feel more organized as well as help you feel like you’re doing a good job as a parent.
Plus, routines help you get through your daily tasks more efficiently and free up time for other things.
This means you can spend more quality time with your children or spend more time scrolling through your social media (don’t scoff, we’re all guilty of it).
7 Steps to Create a Stress-Free Evening Routine
Ready to get started? Here are seven simple steps you can follow to create a stress-free evening routine for your kids:
1. Have Supper Around the Same Time Every Evening
Easier said than done, I know. But suppertime is the kick-off point for an evening routine so the more consistently you can have it on time, the better you can stay on track.
I know I’m not one that enjoys spending tons of time in the kitchen preparing meals.
If you’re like me, you can try meal planning and prepping your menu ahead of time. Or you can stock your pantry with mac and cheese.
I find a nice balance between the two works splendidly.
2. Get Homework Done Before Play
Following your meal, sit the kiddos down to get some homework done if they didn’t already finish it before supper.
As soon as you let your kids loose to play, there’s no reining them in for learning time.
You can even get them to do their homework while you are cooking supper. Two birds, one stone!
Consistent homework time will also help them build healthy study habits.
So even if your little one is still in grade school, start now so that they won’t be lambasted with the workload in high school.
3. Establish a Digital Curfew
I don’t know how accurate the science is on this one (the jury seems to be out on that one) but staring at a screen in the hours leading up to bedtime can’t be good for the brain.
Either it’s true that the blue light emitted from digital screens activates the “wakey-wakey-eggs-and-bakey” center of the brain (that is not a technical term) or flipping endlessly through mindless YouTube videos simply gets the brain all worked up to the point that it won’t shut off.
No matter the reason, scientific or not, you should set a digital curfew one hour before bedtime.
This will give the kiddos a chance to give their brain a break and start winding their systems down for sleep.
4. Tidy Up the Bedrooms
If you want your kids to have a good night’s sleep, it’s important to set up a calming and relaxing sleep environment.
No, you don’t have to invest in fancy sound machines or oil diffusers and lavender. Instead, simply get your kids to tidy up their rooms before bedtime.
That way, they have a relaxing space and you also work this chore into your stress-free evening routine. Win-win!
5. Baths Before Bed
One of the main reasons for having a stress-free evening routine (other than for the sake of your mental health) is to help your kids prepare for sleep.
A good night’s sleep is crucial to their development, their mood, and your sanity.
Baths are a great way to wind your kiddos down and let the stresses of the day melt away.
I, personally, prefer having a bath or shower before bed because it helps me feel calm and I like crawling into bed feeling all squeaky clean.
6. Make Time to Connect
At some point during healthy routines for children, there should be time for connection. Again, one of the benefits of establishing a routine is to help your kids feel secure and cared for.
Suppertime is a great time to sit down as a family and chat about the day. For younger kids, a bedtime story provides the perfect opportunity to connect.
You can go for family walks, play video games, play a board game, go for an evening drive – just make sure there is time in your routine to actually spend with your kids.
When it comes to child-rearing, consistency in everything is key! From discipline to daily routines, you need to be consistent in order to be effective.
As I mentioned above, however, you have to be prepared for bumps in the road. Anything can happen to upset your evening routine but it’s important not to lose your mind over it.
Give yourself grace and try again the next day. As much as kids need routines to thrive, they also have to learn the importance of being flexible and accommodating changes in daily expectations.
Stress-Free Routines for Happy Families!
It can be hard to get a good evening routine going but the more you work at it, the more you will make it a habit!
What about you? What’s your stress-free evening routine? Let me know in the comments!
And don’t forget to pin!