Routine, former procrastinators, is a great way to help us do what needs doing when it needs doing. This week we tackle getting to work or school. Whether you and your family catch a bus, pile into a car, or commute to the kitchen table you must physically transition to work.
Let’s concentrate on three areas: getting out the door – or over to the table – in the morning. Next, ending the day ready for tomorrow morning. And the biggie, practicing your plan before school starts.
Adapt the following ideas to suit you. Think ahead; bring the family into planning. This encourages everybody to feel responsible for helping things work. Give each the opportunity to explain what is important to him or her which can help you figure out a workable approach. For example:
What’s our aim? Leave the house at 7:30.
What’s needed first? Everybody dress, make beds, prepare breakfast, eat, make lunches, clean up, gather back packs and materials, feed and walk the dog.
What can we do the night before and when? After dinner make lunches, check backpacks and place by the door. Before bed, layout the next day’s clothes and shoes.
How will we approach the morning? Establish get up time and use of alarms. Set the time everyone gathers in the kitchen for pre-assigned chores. Who does what?
How will we build in margin? Add 5 minutes to each task? Start 15 minutes sooner?
What attitudes will we maintain? Be patient, respectful, kind, helpful.
Evening basics include determining bedtimes, bed prep and bathroom use, homework hours, dinner time, chores, prepositioning shoes and clothes.
Now, the big one. Practice your planned routines before school starts – especially the morning one. Several days in advance, begin getting up at school year time and go through the motions of the plan. This primes sleepyheads for the new wake up time. Remember to watch the clock. Practice will enable everyone to get the hang of what to do, when, and how before the pressure of a real bus out front. It will enable you to find problems in the plan before they impact real school days. It will free you more to tend to the baby or special needs. It will help you be realistic and eliminate much frustration.
You can also make it a game of “practice and pretend” during the day. Afterwards do something fun. Have popsicles. Share the illustration from “The Gift of Routine” August 6, 2018. Explain that your morning routine will be like bowling bumpers helping all of you go where you need to, prepared, and in a good humor. Then everybody go bowling! Call ahead to make sure bumpers are available.
Practice equips everyone to cooperate. How often did I get upset when my expectations weren’t met, yet I never took the time to train children or teens how to do something? Just telling is not training. Training involves practice. Go there.
What’s your planned routine? What days will you practice?