I’m keeping some dear friends’ children for a couple of days, and am reminded of how important routines are. For kids, adults…everyone.
My dogs do better when I keep them in a routine. Feed once in the morning and once in the evening. Play when Daddy gets home from work. They know this and expect this, and often tell us if one of these things doesn’t happen on time.
I do better when I stay in a routine. I don’t get as overwhelmed when I can stay on an organized, predictable schedule.
Kids do BEST when they are in a routine. Think school class schedule, dinner at the same time every evening, ballet lessons every Tuesday, etc. From my 6 years as a teacher, I have seen what happens when a special assembly or a pep rally knocks kids off their balanced, normal routines. Getting their attention back is like chasing the wind!
Think about the routines in your life. Get up, make coffee, get everyone out the door, work, dinner, bedtime…sound familiar? We have a good friend who is a Dr. Pepper drinker…literally at 10:00 am, 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm, there is a Dr. Pepper in his hand.
We all do best when we have a predictable, stable routine. It makes us feel comfortable and safe. What if you didn’t get paid on a regular basis? You would feel stressed out, no? You count on being paid on a particular day. You look forward to that day. You dream about that day. You plan on what you will do with the money you receive in your paycheck (hopefully you’re doing a zero-based budget with your spouse/accountability partner BEFORE spending anything!).
When you’re traveling, I think it’s important to stick to the things you know, if possible. What you eat and when you sleep are at the top of the list! When the food is weird wherever you’re visiting, all you want is your mama’s home-cooking. You crave the normalcy of what is familiar to you. Keeping your sleeping on schedule helps your body recover from any physical stressors you encountered that day, but it also helps your mind recover from the psychological stressors of the day. When you DON’T get enough sleep…well, we all know what happens! Cranky, grumpy, gripey, whiney, half-conscious people are the result.
So what’s my message in all this rambling? Stick to your routine, no matter how hard it may be. If you don’t have a routine established, then start one today, and stick to it for at least 21 days, until it becomes second nature to you. Have the self-control to do what is best for you, your kids, and your family.