Creating Routines

I put routines at the beginning of my list because I think they’re important, but I pretty much never want to follow a routine. In fact, I believe that little in life is as enjoyable as throwing aside your scheduled plans and doing whatever it is you want to do, seeing where the day takes you.
graphic reading "Little Joy Map"
Kids like routines, though, and I know this. I taught school long enough to know that changing the routine sends a day into a tailspin. There’s also piles of research about how good routines are for kids: kids with home routines are happier and even healthier (how does that work?). They have better self-esteem. Routines can provide a stabilizing force for children during a traumatic event like a parents’ divorce (hoping not to find out about that one).
Ok, routines are great for kids, but the project is about me, right? Surely moms find routines to be the painful drags that they are. Actually, no. Moms who have established routines are less likely to report feeling depressed.  Researchers have also shown that mothers with plenty of routines report feeling more competent.  I’m going to feel more competent? I guess I can try routines.
boy in a grocery cart

Charlie and I grocery shopping–he loved that car cart.

Some possible areas for routines are:
bedtime
mealtime
waking up
leaving the house
playtime
At this point we’ve got almost no routines in place. When Charlie was a baby he had a zillion appointments a week, so there was no set schedule. It’s different with the twins and Rex, though, so we should be able to get something going.
Do you have any good routines? Any tips? Do you have a particular routine you’d like to start? I think family diner would be lovely. I’d also love to read stories before bed, but I’m worried the twins would run out of the room if I tried it.
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