When to start? Is it too early? When the topic of “Getting into a routine” comes up in a conversation with fellow parents, you can surely expect any mom or dad with young children to shudder. This applies especially to stay at home parents with children not in school yet. You see, I was a full time working mother before I had children and 12 weeks after both my eldest were born, I returned to work. Routine was my middle name. Now transition to full-time (literally) mommy. Now enter the unplanned, unexpected delays, interruptions, uh-ohs to any planned activities, events, outings, play dates. Shall we call it the storm before the calm? I believe there is no time like the present or if you can as early as possible. Routine is a very close relative to habit. We as humans tend to build habits pretty quickly after repetition. So we can apply it to childrearing as well. Take sleep training for example. When we brought our youngest home from the hospital, I immediately placed her in her crib whenever she slept. Now I am not a fan of the term sleep training, it is just repetition. I knew I had to tend to my older two, a house to keep clean, meals to prepare and I didn’t have time to hold the baby all day long. The lesson is that as we transition into further stages in our life to learn to embrace a routine. It keeps us “on track.” This applies to quality time nurturing and most importantly teaching them. We don’t realize much of our days consists of teaching them simple basics. Once days become more routine (this may take time), much productivity can be achieved. With 4.75 years of parenting under my belt, I have broken up time management in 4 simple steps, I shall dub it the L.I.V.E.© Method – Lead, Inquire, Visualize, Execute
My children are 98% more likely to follow my lead when they see me complete the task at hand. When I wake up, they wake up. When I go brush my teeth, they brush their teeth. It’s simple but for some silly reason, they must see mom and/or dad do it before they complete said task. Leading by example can build up industrious little children, but this certainly can come with its drawbacks, so be careful what comes out of your mouth and the behavior you exhibit. As we are more cognizant of our own behavior and promptness, we can clearly see the mirroring effect on our children.
As parents we are so quick to tell children “why” WE do things. I have come to find that the more active a child is in a conversation, the higher the retention rate. This is the time to stop and ask your child, what their feelings are and help them see the benefits of a structured day. Hearing a child share their opinions can be quite refreshing. Who wants to be told how to do something ALL the time. When you entrust a child with a sense of responsibility, they want to do their best to show that they can handle it. So inquire of them and let them share their views. I usually get more eye contact when my daughters are talking to rather then when I am talking to them. Engaging your child in a conversation can be so refreshing. Coming from a chatterbox like myself. This was quite difficult for me as I always had what I thought was a great thought/idea/suggestion on my mind. My oldest who is quite the mini-me and I sure had many conversations where we were over talking each other. Who was really “actively listening?” Let us stop and inquire of them.
Try these questions:
Why is it important to be on time?
What can you do to help yourself get up earlier?
How can you settle down for bedtime?
No I am not asking you to fantasize about the ideal day, but rather a structured day. This can be divided in to several parts of the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner time and the activities before and after. When we have a mindset of a checklist of to-do’s, the automatic urge is to check things off that list right? Well that’s how my brain worked pre-marriage and pre-babies. As we have an idea of what needs to be done, we need to write it down. Whether it’s a whiteboard magnet on your fridge, a planner, an app on your phone, think about what needs to be done and then write it down in the order it shall be completed. Children excel when they are challenged. If there is no push to do more, interest level drops. Ask your child to make a list of what they think needs to be done the next day (keep it to a minimum) and write it down.
The last and final step is execute. When it comes to efficient time management, I know from personal experience if I have not started my day with the first few things on my to-do list done, it’s not very likely I will get to my other items on my list. Just as Nike’s tag line, “Just do it!” When we can get ourselves out of bed in the more, our willpower seems to be much stronger then spending another 10 extra minutes snoozing. Being realistic of course, we will have those lazy Saturdays and holidays where lazy days are acceptable. However, when it comes down to carrying out plans, we must follow through accordingly. If we don’t act, then that’s when we get behind on all other aspects of our life.
Raising children in this modern era requires a dedicated, unwavering mentality and focus. We have the responsibility to support them, build strong work ethic and teach them to skills that help them progress in all aspects of their lives. We must instill a sense of independence in them and ensure that they will make morally smart decisions on their own. By establishing a routine, it will help them manage their time wisely and be efficient in all that they do. Remember we all struggle with managing our time, whether it be at home or in their professional life, but one way we can ask for help is by surrounding yourself with people who are seeing success and having faith that you can attain the same. Prayer is such a great way to let HIM know where in life you are and ask HIM where you need help. Having faith that HE is there to listen to me enables me to push forth each and every day to do better than before to improve our lives. I encourage you to LIVE and eatablishes health routines that will enable you to be the best you can each day and set goals to challenge yourself to grow exponentially.
I love this opportunity to see my children actively think and make real world connections that will help them become helpful, productive and encouraging little members of society.
I believe that when we are able to better manage our time, we are able to accomplish so much. This includes service to others and being a active member of our community even a little at a time. We have such an unlimited potential to make change, if we start now. There is no time like the present.