22 minutes | Sep 19, 2018

Mommy & Kid Routines That Make My Life Easier [Episode 37]

Mommy and Kid Routines  Y’all, back to school has been a struggle for me this year.   I got sick on the first day of school and of course on a week that my hubby was out of town.  I’m not talking just a little cold. I’m talking hit by a bus, zombie-like sick.  It’s a miracle they got to and from school and fed that week. But we made it through.  The second week, I was better but still not 100% so it was better than survival mode but not great.    I needed to make a change.   I’m an ENTJ personality from the Myers Briggs test.  I’ve taken this test several times over the past 15-20 years and it never changes. I am a problem solver by nature.  I may not always have the emotional sensitivity side but if you want a solution to your problem (or the 8 million that I create inside my head every day) then I’m your gal. So I saw the problem = total chaos, meltdowns, tantrums and listening skills were nonexistent in my kids the past few weeks. I had to solve it and solve it fast.  I couldn’t go on like this. There isn’t enough wine in the world that would make it bearable. I took a minute to reflect on why the hectic chaos was happening. I realized I hadn’t been following our normal school routines.  So, I immediately implemented them and communicated the expectations with the kids and just like that my wine glass didn’t need so much wine to make it through the evenings.   We all thrive with routines and knowing what’s coming up and what’s expected of us.  Our kids are no different. They need it even more. I’m not saying these routines make our life perfect but it’s so much better with them than without. So I want to give you a glimpse into our families routines.  Maybe they’ll help you or inspire to come up with some that fit your family. I took away all devices on Monday – Thursday.   This was tough for the first week (like I seriously almost caved and gave them the damn devices) but it got easier. They can watch TV but no iPads or Gaming until the Friday. This does make my life a little harder but they are finding more ways to play and they don’t seem to miss it anymore. The first one is a good morning routine. Getting the kids into a good morning routine is crucial for your sanity and theirs.   During the school week, my kids do the exact same things every single morning.  So even if they are still half asleep they can usually remember to get them all done on their own. Our school starts at 7:45.  So I set my alarm at 6:12 to give one snooze before I need to be up at 6:20.   I find that if I can have at least 10 minutes to myself before my kids get up, I’m in a much better mood and I’m not feeling so rushed.  Both of those are key to good morning in our house.  If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.   Then I turn on the stair lights and it’s a signal to them that it’s time to get up, if they are already awake and just hanging out in bed.   They get up and get dressed. Actually, in our house, they sleep in their clothes for the next day.  This started a while back when I suggested it and they thought it was cool. So I went with it. Let’s face it, I have 3 boys, they mainly wear gym shorts and a tee shirt anyway.  Well, except the little guy, he wears a uniform but wants to be like his brothers so wears his uniform to bed.  Whatever works, right? This one step has saved me time and a drama.   For some reason, my kids don’t like to get dressed in the morning.  And I don’t wanna deal with it. Next, they brush their teeth.  I let them do this one on their own and am more involved in the night brushing. Then they head downstairs to immediately put their socks and shoes on.   After the shoes are on, they get their lunch (already prepped on Sunday, hopefully), water bottle and backpacks ready to go.   Finally, they eat breakfast.  Usually something simple like greek yogurt with fruit, oatmeal or eggs that I have premade either scrambled or boiled. Let me just put this out there…there is no cooking on weekday mornings in our house.  I have prepared it over the weekend or it’s a cold breakfast. They are responsible for clearing their plates and straightening the chair that they used. Then, if they have time, the can play for a few minutes or if we don’t, it’s straight to the car and drop off starts.   After drop off, I come home and can do my morning routine.  I’ll save that for another episode. Prepping the night before. A good morning routine starts with a little prep the night before. I prep anything that I can the night before and it makes a huge difference. Things like getting their clothes picked out and making sure their shoes are in the right spot, checking the weekly schedule that I post on the fridge to know if there is anything special the next day (like themed days at school or function), getting water bottles washed and getting backpacks ready to go. THEN… I make sure that my kids get to bed at a good time for them.  I know when they haven’t gotten enough sleep because they are melting down too early in the afternoon or they have a really hard time getting up. In our house, sleep is king.   Our bodies need sleep. It’s how our brain functions properly.   It needs downtime to store memories, repair and maintains your body and it’s when you grow.   Kids are growing constantly so they need more sleep than the 7-8 hours that adults need. I’m not going to get on my soapbox here but if your child is having behavioral issues or learning challenges and they are also not getting enough sleep then please try to make sleep and a healthy balanced diet a priority.   If you’re having trouble getting your kids to sleep once they are in bed here are few things that might help. Make sure the room is dark enough.  I just put room darkening curtains in my 4-year olds room and it has been a game changer. Reduce your kid’s sugar intake, all day but especially in the evenings.  This includes juice, there is a ton of natural sugar in juice and to your body, it’s all the same. Make sure they are getting adequate activity and sunlight throughout the day. Now make sure that you have a consistent bedtime routine in place.   Routines and actions trigger your brain.  If you have a consistent bedtime routine that is followed by sleep your brain knows what to do and how to prepare when it’s triggered. We use sound machines and essential oil diffusers in each room, they help trigger your brain for sleep. Here’s what our after school and bedtime routine looks like this…If we don’t have a practice of some sort. Come home Have a little chill time maybe TV Homework Play or help with dinner Dinner Clean up/chores Showers Brush & floss teeth I read a couple of chapters in our book of the week They all go to their rooms I come and tuck in and give some snuggles individually and then it’s lights out.   If we have a practice or activity after school then things get a little shuffled and reading time gets cut short but it still looks very similar to the above routine. This next one is a little controversial but I’m gonna go there anyway. Simplifying schedules. I know this hard in today’s world and seems like the demands on kids are so high.   But I believe we really need to look at our kids’ schedule and make sure that it has some free time built in and enough time to get their homework done and enough sleep in. I see this all the time with other moms in my world.  They have multiple kids and each of those kids participates in multiple afterschool activities.  Like soccer, baseball and martial arts. Each of those sports has a lot of time commitment tied to them. Now don’t get me wrong I love a well-rounded kid and one that tries a lot of things but we also need to look at what their schedule looks like.   Having something scheduled every day after school or multiple things after school is really hard on kids.   I just had to take this to heart.   Normally, my oldest does soccer and tennis in the spring and fall.  But this year we have 3 kids in soccer and they all want to play tennis. This poses a problem.  3 kids, 3 different soccer practices, 3 different locations and 3 different games on Saturdays.   Now throw in 2 tennis lessons for my oldest and 1 for my littles.  This is a problem. If it were just one kid we would be fine but I have to consider the fact that I have to drag them to their brother’s practices. Not to mention that it would be a chauffeuring nightmare because they are at similar times on the same days in different locations. I’m already exhausted just thinking about it. So I decided to see how they did this past week with just soccer before I added in the tennis. Let’s just say that I have made the executive decision to skip tennis this season.  It makes me sad because they all really want to play but we just can’t make the schedules this time. Something’s gotta give, right? So this time it was tennis. Let’s do our kids a favor and give them a little downtime and pack their schedules so tight that we can’t keep up. Implement the weekly family huddle. Every Sunday morning, I gather everyone in the kitchen and make a plan it takes about 15 minutes but it saves our butts throughout the week. We talk about what worked well the past week and what needs improvement.   And we brainstorm ways to make adjustments or improvements.   Does this remind you of SCRUM?  Well, that’s where I got it from.   Then we plan the week ahead and make sure that we know everything on our schedules. We decide what lunches we want to buy and which we want to bring our own. Then the kids decide what they want to take to lunch on the days that they are packing (within limits) so that I know what groceries we need. After the lunches are planned we plan out dinner. There are 5 in our family of us so each of us gets to pick a meal to have during the week. These ar
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