I know that if someone told me that I could see more cooperation, less tantrums, and find more peace with a brand new super power, I would be the first in line. The good news is that you can claim your super power and can start reaping the benefits in a very short time.
The bad news is that it does require you to pull in a bit, shuffle some things around, and invite the thought to let some things go. Are you willing to try it in order to see what might transpire in your home with your young children?
Children thrive on predictability. One of the things that has helped me is understanding that our children think in pictures. They really need these visual images to help them understand what is happening, what you expect, and what it is exactly you want them to do. So, for example, on Mondays at our regular play date it can be really difficult for my son to be ready to go when it’s time. Instead of just announcing, “Okay, it’s time to go now,” I will prepare him in advance.
“Keats, in 5 minutes we’re going to get off the trampoline, get our coats on, and say good-bye.” I try to be brief but specific about each step. My goal is to create a visual image of him doing each thing that will lead us to the exit.
I know that there are families that really struggle with creating predictable rhythms. What is great to understand is that you don’t have to have your whole day mapped out in order for this super power to take affect. Create one or two things that you can create for your children that happens every day that is the same, predictable ritual. Meal times and bed times are a great place to start. If you can’t have a predictable dinner time, choose to have a predictable bed time.
One of our own mamas in the noblemother community shared this experience she had with her 3 year old this past weekend when they altered the Saturday morning routine. It’s truly amazing how balanced and even-tempered our children can become, the more rhythmical our days are. We can fully understand the power of the routine when we change things up!
Perhaps that’s one reason you haven’t wanted to create predictable routines in your family – you want your children to be able to adapt to the winds of change and to be spontaneous. I think on some level, we can all say that leading this unpredictable lifestyle day-in and day-out is stressful. Finding more rhythm for yourself will bring you more peace and a feeling of control which provides all of us with security.
Young children under age 7 respond well to routines. Here are some ideas for setting up daily routines that can help young children comply with the every day tasks…
– Create a special wake up routine. This might include kisses on the cheeks and a song.
“Good morning sun, good morning sun!
The night is gone, the day’s begun.
I’m certain while we work and play that God with help us through the day!”
– Light a candle for breakfast and let the children take turns blowing it out each day.
– Have the children practice their instruments (if they have them) after breakfast, rather than the afternoon.
– Before they get their coats on, have them check the outdoor thermometer.
– Set an egg timer while they brush their teeth or have them hum the Happy Birthday song.
– Incorporate movement and song as much as you can around things like washing their hands, setting the table, getting dressed, saying “good-night.”
– Keep afternoons reserved for free play – bike riding, outdoor play, a walk – rather than consistently scheduled. One scheduled activity per week is more than enough for young children.
– Have them put their clothes out the night before they go to sleep.
-Don’t be afraid of letting your kids get bored. Boredom leads children toward creativity. Without enough downtime, they may never have the opportunity to really let their imaginations soar or their creativity bloom.
I’d love for you to share some of your own helpful daily rituals with us. What routine has brought your family joy and more peacefulness?
Want to read more about predictability and rhythm? Check Out This Book!