Are you tired of feeling frazzled throughout the day? Many people start their days frustrated by the never-ending to-do list and spend all day just trying to keep up. They try to manage their families and keep their kids in order while juggling their careers. Fortunately, there is a solution to the madness: developing a routine. 

Routines can help you feel more in control of your life and create safety and boundaries for your children. If you need a few tips on how to establish a new routine for you and your family, this guide can help you get started: 

Be Realistic

When people set out to establish new routines for their families, they often dive in headfirst. They revamp their current life and schedule activities from dawn until dusk. This may make them feel like they are being more productive for a few days, but it’s not likely to stick. Instead, you should start by being realistic and managing your expectations upfront. 

Start by adding small pieces into your current schedule. For example, you might want to begin by creating time to eat dinner together or have a weekly family game night. Make simple changes at first and introduce them slowly so that you and your family have time to adjust to the new routine. This helps you slowly turn your new routine into a good habit. 

Write It Down

Do you know exactly what you want to accomplish on any given day? Many people wake up feeling instantly swamped by everything that needs to get done. From dirty dishes piled in the kitchen sink to that towering mountain of laundry – there are chores that could take all day. It’s best to write down exactly what you need to accomplish and begin by making a thorough to-do list. Make sure to hold on to these lists for a few weeks. 

Once you have a small stack of daily to-do lists, you can flip through them to see patterns. These patterns can help you identify specific routines that might help you feel less stressed and more productive throughout the week. It’s a great first step to help you formulate a routine if you have no idea where to start. 

Start With the Basics 

Many people feel overwhelmed at the idea of establishing a routine for their family. They think of all the possibilities and simply have no idea where to start. Fortunately, there is an easy solution that can help you get rolling along on a new routine. Start with the basics – that can include things as simple as waking up in the morning, meal times, and bedtimes. These types of things set the rhythm for the entire day and can be a great way to anchor your family. 

Bedtime routines are especially important for those families that have young children. Taking a few minutes in the evening to get ready for the next morning can make the following day considerably less stressful. Spend a half-hour before bedtime getting book bags and clothes ready for the following day. An older child can put their own things together, taking some self-responsibility with these tasks. 

Talk It Over

One of the mistakes that people make when setting routines is a failure to communicate fully with others in the household. Often, one person makes the schedule and tries to stick to their own mental timetable. This can frustrate other members of the family who are unaware of the plans and goals for the day. It’s far better to write everything down and thoroughly talk it over with all the members in your family. 

When it’s time for a new activity according to the schedule, be sure to announce it. Say something like, “It’s five o’clock! Time for dinner!” Within a few weeks of establishing these time frames, your family members will begin to chime in and help with maintaining the schedule. 

Weekly Family Meetings

Nobody’s schedule is going to remain the same from week to week. While you may have the same basic framework in place at all times, there has to be some flexibility for other activities that come up, like birthday parties or band concerts. One way to navigate these upcoming changes is to discuss them at weekly family meetings. This gives each family member an opportunity to bring their proposed schedule changes to the table and lets everyone know what to expect for the week ahead. 

Give everyone permission to speak during these family meetings. Explain that there are no stupid ideas or questions. This is a great time to connect with your kids and to set the structure and tone for the week. 

Use a Digital Calendar

The truth is that managing everyone’s hectic schedules can quickly become a burden. You need to come up with a system that allows everyone to add their activities to the calendar quickly and easily. This lets you see upcoming events and helps you plan in advance instead of showing up at the last minute, harried and frazzled. A digital calendar system, like Google Calendar, can sync across devices and help you organize everyone’s events in one convenient location. 

Manage Relationships With Extended Family

Setting up your home to run like a well-oiled machine is admirable, but you need to remember the other members of your family as well. To prevent their presence from disrupting your new routine, make sure that you pencil in time to stay in touch with loved ones. This might mean teaching your older family members how to use technology to communicate with you and your children on a more regular basis. It could mean scheduling time to visit them on a weekly basis so that they know when to expect you. 

No matter how you decide to handle it, managing your relationships with extended family is an important part of your routine. You will be grateful to have a life full of rich and deep relationships with those around you. 

Set Aside Time for Self-Care

While many people recognize the importance of setting a routine for children and elders, they neglect the emphasis that should be placed on a structure for themselves. Make sure to work some time for self-care into your new schedule. Caregiver mental health matters and people need to remember to take time to focus on themselves as well. Without taking this time to invest back into yourself, you are setting yourself up for frustration, mental fatigue, sadness, and anxiety. Burnout is common when you place too much emphasis on routine without regard for your own needs. 

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