Recently we talked about the importance of creating routine in your home, Today I’m going to give you a bit more detail about HOW to create routines in your home.
Here are the steps for creating routine, from Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen.
1. Create routine charts WITH your child.
Having your child involved in the task of creating the routine will build their confidence, self-esteem and create buy in. They will often think of something that you might not have thought of and can really get excited and into it. Additionally, the Elementary students are ALL about rules, and the more they are empowered to help create these “rules” or in this case, the structure of the routine, the more they will own it and step up.
2. Begin by brainstorming routines and regular tasks that need to be done (bedtime, meals, school work, household work, yard work, etc). If needed, break it down into daily, weekly and monthly tasks. Don’t hold back when you are brainstorming, all thoughts are valid and necessary.
3. Take pictures of your child doing each task.
So for the younger children, take a picture of them working through their routine. They love to see themselves and this would be a fun way to build their chart. I took photos and mounted onto cards for my daughter’s morning routine (the routine that we struggled with the most) This will also help solidify their understanding of the expectations each time. I suggest this for daily routines such as morning, meals, and bed time, beginning with the one that causes the most stress! Also, older kids can be asked to draw or find clip art for each step. Whatever you can find or do to break it down. There are a lot of examples online of these if you just do a search for routine charts, but the key is HAVING the KIDS involved in creating this!
4. Let the routine chart be the boss: Instead of reminding them, it’s time to brush your teeth, “What is next on your routine chart?” takes the pressure off of you as the parent, and shifts the owness to the agreed upon plan.
5. Please, please, PLEASE!
Do not take away from feelings of capability by adding rewards.
This one is huge, and worthy of an entire post, but let’s just say, that the reward is in the completion in its self. Getting into the car/bed successfully and “independently” is an intrinsic reward. Having breakfast after the dishwasher has been unloaded is a natural reward. If you feel the need to complement, try this: “I noticed that bedtime routine was pretty smooth, how did that feel?”
This sounds well and good, but remember, all new habits need practice. Please allow yourself and your child the grace of having a few “practice” routines so that you can work out any problems that may come up, and you can support your child to create success. Maybe do the routines together for a while. “Remember? We have a new routine chart! Let’s go take a look at it and see what it says you should be doing first.”
I wish you the best as you navigate these uncharted territories of social isolation!
In peace, Kristen