On our way to the pool yesterday, my son said, “So mom, we will do the lazy river, then the small pool, then after the adult break we will go the big pool until it is time to go, right?”
“Sure,” I said…and then it dawned on me. This had become our routine.
I could tell my son felt reassured and comforted by the rhythm we had created for ourselves. This is how we have spent many, many afternoons this summer. Was it me or was it my boys who had created this routine? I am not quite sure. But one thing is for certain — this proved not only how much we love routines, but how much we need them. My son, clearly was enjoying our new “afternoon at the pool” routine and I was happy to oblige.
Most of our routines are carefully crafted-by me. Morning routines, bedtime routines, mealtime routines….they help to scaffold our day. But this routine was so organic-and I loved the realization of it.
Routines, whether they are prescribed or happen quite naturally are so important for kids and adults, alike.
Routines help us find predictability in a often times turbulent world. When kids know what is going to happen, they feel safe. Children have such little control over their lives and routines can give them a sense of security.
Routines set expectations for kids and reduce power struggles. Once routines are in place, things flow much easier. You are no longer the one enforcing the rule. “This is just when we brush our teeth and go to bed every night”
Routines act as markers of time and allow us to form good habits. Self care and chores get worked into the routine and become easier to keep up with. Kids remember to make their beds and sweep the kitchen if they are tied to the morning routine. Routines can even be something to look forward to-fun family traditions-Wednesday night ice cream cones, anyone?
Routines can present opportunities for connection. While summer bedtime is a bit looser, my husband and I still spend a separate 10 minutes with each kid right before lights out. We read or talk and everyone looks forward to this. No matter how busy our day is, we all know that connection will happen every night.
Once school resumes we will add more routines in the mix. We will have our after school backpack dump complete with snack break. We will follow with homework and dinner prep. Then a bit of family read aloud before we sit down to eat. Routines at home allow for a release of the stressors of our day. We can relax into the predictability of our time together and see what comes up in the in-between times.
Do you have any special routines in the summer? Which routines are you looking forward to having once your school year starts up again?