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If you’re a stay at home mom like I am, then I hope you understand the importance of having a daily schedule, or at least a morning or night time routine! If you don’t have one yet; you’re not alone. When I first started staying home with my two girls I thought I was free from all schedules and could just do what I want, when I want, with no consequences.
I guess I was a little naive.
I’ve been on a schedule for most of my life; I think most of us have, at least us millennial’s, simply from going to school for more than half our lives. The thing is, it can sometimes be hard to know exactly how useful a schedule is until we don’t have one anymore. And, let me tell ya, your child and you need a schedule to stay sane in this stay at home mom life!
I went so long without a schedule I almost felt like I was going insane. It was chaotic!! I didn’t know what we were going to do each day until it happened. Nothing could be predicted, including whether or not my youngest would take a nap or not. I didn’t feel productive, at all. And, my older daughter would be moody and even have mood swings!! (I thought I wouldn’t have to deal with those til she was a teenager.) And, by ‘going a long time without a schedule’ I mean just a few weeks!!
We have set schedules for a reason; they help us thrive and get things done. They allow us to know what’s coming next in the day and what to expect. You need this, and your children need this. And, if you haven’t gotten the picture yet, I’ll give you 5 good reasons to get yourself and children on a schedule ASAP!!!!
1. To know what’s coming next in an unpredictable world
How would you like it if you didn’t have much control over where you went or what you did during the day? Then, the authority figure who decided for you, wouldn’t tell you. And what you had to do was always unpredictable so you weren’t even able to guess?
It’d make you feel anxious, right? Maybe even scared, because what if you don’t like what you have to do next? You don’t have any time to prepare for it. You don’t have time to mentally prep yourself for the task that needs to get done next.
Well, this may be how your child feels when they’re not on a schedule. They don’t have time to prep themselves for what’s to come next. They may get anxious (and this may be where my daughters mood swings were coming from, anxiety of not knowing).
The outside world is unpredictable enough, don’t add to the anxiety for your child by having their home life be unpredictable, as well. At the very least have a morning and bed time routine. Better yet, plan out the day ahead of time, and try to keep similar activities at the same time each day. Keep meal times the same, outings around the same time, and rest times at the same time through out the day. This will help relieve some of their anxiety. They may even look forward to specific times of the day, which brings me to the next reason to have a schedule with kids!
2. To look forward to a certain part of the day
If you don’t have a daily schedule, and you don’t know what you get to do for the day, then what’s going to motivate you to get out of bed in the morning? (Unless you strive on spontaneity, then you may love the unpredictability of no schedule. But I don’t think many people do, or at least my family doesn’t!) You’re kids may be the same way.
If your child knows there’s one thing they look forward to everyday; then they’re more likely to be compliant and keep with the schedule that’s set for them. Say, they love it when you read them stories, but you only do this once or twice during the day. With a solid schedule they will know that there are other activities that come before story time and that they have to get through those activities first. This can reduce those not so fun tantrums or power struggles. It’s kind of like compromising; they have to do some things that they may not like, or that aren’t as fun (like picking up their room), but then they get story time (which they love)!
And, I’m sure this is the same for you, as well. No one likes cleaning up or doing the dishes, but I’m sure you enjoy having some peace and quiet to yourself at night after the kids go to bed, to relax or read!
3. To understand what is expected of them
…and to let them know what they can expect from you!
When there’s no schedule in place, life seems chaotic. You know this and your kids can sense it. They may want you to do something for them or play with them when you’re in the middle of doing dishes or making lunch. And, when everything is different everyday; they don’t know any better. They didn’t know you were going to do dishes or when you were going to start lunch; how were they to know what was expected from them at this time?
But, if you have a set time everyday when you do dishes; like, if you’re a responsible adult and do them quickly right after a meal, instead of letting them pile up and then taking an hour to wash them everyday. Then, you’re child will understand that you do dishes after they eat and they will have to wait 10 or so minutes after eating to ask anything more of you. And, maybe during dish washing time after dinner, they know that they are expected to go put on PJ’s and brush their teeth and start getting ready for bed!
It goes both ways. Everyone knows what everyone else should be doing and your home will run so much smoother this way!!
4. Behavior is more stable and predictable (from everyone)
To go along with expectations gained by instilling a daily schedule; the behavior from both your children, and yourself, will improve and be more predictable. With all of the built in routines that come with a daily schedule; you’re child will know what is expected of them and there won’t be this huge power struggle between you and them for what needs to be done and when. You both already know!
For example, if in the morning they know they are to play quietly til breakfast is made, then eat breakfast, and then get dressed and brush their teeth; then they’re less likely to come downstairs and demand breakfast right away, they know that you may still be making it and that they need to go play quietly til you call them out to eat. Or, for a bed time routine, they’ll know that when they are done with their routine, they go to sleep; not stay up for another few hours.
Daily schedules can help halt power struggles…which brings us to the next reason to have a daily schedule; it reduces stress!!
5. Reduces stress and builds confidence in kids
Having a daily schedule can reduce stress in the same way it can reduce anxiety; if you already know how the day is going to be, or what happens everyday (the schedule); then, you don’t have to worry about how it’s going to be. Sure, there may be a surprise once in awhile. But, for the majority of the time, every day is going to be just like the last one; there’s predictability. When there’s predictability it allows children, and us, to relax and be more confident that everything is going to be alright.
We don’t have to stress that we don’t know what’s going to happen next or if we’ll have time to do something; like cooking food, or finding a missing sock before we have to go out. We are then capable of planning ahead of time, like picking out clothes ahead of time or planning meals. Both of which, our kids can help with if they’re old enough. It helps build up our confidence and makes us feel accomplished. We know when we have free time to get something “extra” done; or, when we need to be doing a recurring task, like cooking or dishes. (Or, for kids, eating meals or brushing teeth and changing clothes.)
Having a daily schedule has also been shown to encourage learning and curiosity in children. (They are better able to tell when they have time to learn when they are on a set daily schedule. When there aren’t any surprise outings or change of activities; you know, things that would distract or interrupt their train of thought or learning process.)
There are plenty of reasons behind creating a daily schedule as a stay at home parent; there’s even more than I just listed out. I could tell you more til I’m blue in the face, but, nothings going to matter unless you take action. You and your children don’t get to reap any of these benefits unless you actually create, and stick to, your daily schedule!
I can’t force you to create or stick to a schedule, that part is up to you! So, do your children, and yourself, a favor, and go create that schedule….and stick to it!!!!
Why do you, or why don’t you, have a daily schedule? And, how do you feel about how your day goes?
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