2013 has officially arrived and it’s time to give your New Year’s Resolution some thought! Typically the month of January is dedicated to working off holiday weight. For three to four weeks gym parking lots will be filled cars. However, when February 1st rolls around treadmills will be abandoned. Instead, why not make a resolution that will actually last! Make 2013 the year to bond with your kids. Spending quality time with your children is the best thing a parent can do. A great way to accomplish this goal is to establish routines together. Routines provide children with stability and act as anchor points for their days and weeks. Here are five simple ways to introduce routines to your new year!
First Thing’s First:
Start simple. Take a moment to think about which routines you already have and what’s most important to you and your child. Pick one thing and focus on it. It’s important that you remain realistic about what you introduce to your schedule by expanding on the routines you already have. For instance, if your child has difficulty cooperating with bedtime, begin a nightly story time or pajama game that will get him or her ready for bed.
Do not be afraid to make changes if things aren’t working. Make sure to adjust routines to your schedules by taking into account what has already been planned for that day. Children grow and change quite rapidly. What your child liked one day may not be enjoyable the next. Be open to change and remember that what’s truly important is that you’re spending time together.
Downtime is another important thing to consider. Avoid bogging you and your child down with too many planned activities! School is to children what work is to us and just as we need time to relax children do as well.
Take Baby Steps:
Don’t overwhelm yourself with the details. Let the extra steps fall away and focus on the basics! For example, let’s say you’ve decided to prepare dinner for your family every night. Avoid serving elaborate dishes that are costly and time consuming. Instead try recipes that are easy enough for your kids to help with but are still delicious! You might find that between work and other obligations preparing dinner every night is too much. Start small by beginning with two nights a week and work your way up! There’s nothing wrong with frozen dinners as long as they’re eaten together as a family.
Remember, Your Family is Unique:
Your family has its own unique rhythm so it’s best to begin routines that are relevant to your life. What is right for your family may not be right for another and vice versa. I would also advice against spending too much time on crafting blogs and cites such as Pinterest. I recently read an article by a woman who claimed that Pinterest made her feel inadequate as a mother because she didn’t have time to constantly bake cupcakes or sew her children’s Halloween costumes. I was an M&M for Halloween three years running. I promise you, I still love my mother just the same. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses because you will undoubtedly set yourself up to fail.
Planning ahead ensures that you will actually accomplish your goal. If you are planning a craft day with your kids, decide what you are making and purchase all necessary items ahead of time. This leads to spending more quality time with your kids and less time running around a crowded craft store. Making sure that routines are carried out is half of the routine itself. Telling your children you’re going to do something and actually sticking to it builds a foundation of trust. Being organized and staying one step ahead of the game is the best way to do it!
As I’ve previously stated, each family is unique and it’s important to base routines off of what works for all of you. We are living in a fast paced society which means that more than ever it’s important to get into the habit of spending quality time with your kids. Routines, however trivial they may seem, builds safety, consistency, and trust for your child. Start this year off right by doing something good for the ones who love you the most!