Mornings used to get away from me.
You see, I’ve dedicated my mornings to intentional learning time with my children. We read books, do activities together and basically do our homeschooling stuff until lunchtime.
And though that’s all I want to do with them, our precious time together also includes eating breakfast and hygiene and self-care activities.
How can we do everything in such a short time? I’ve seesawed between letting my kids take a bath after lunch and insisting that they get to the bathroom right after breakfast and before we do anything else.
It really depended on how disciplined I was in following through with my agenda for them to take a bath and brush their teeth, my biggest “issues”. If I was too frazzled with work or their whining, I would just let them run around and just have them take their bath whenever.
If, like me, you find yourself battling it out with your kids over the same things everyday, then one of the peaceful parenting solutions that you can do is to establish and follow a routine.
We always talk about the importance of routine in all of our parenting workshops, including the Teacher Yaya workshop.
From infancy onwards, routine plays an important role in giving stability to children’s day-to-day life. A routine also helps children have rhythm and predictability in their day, which help avoid tantrums and confrontations.
Babies are comforted by the rhythm of their days. Mommy kisses me when I wake up. Then, she feeds me. Then, she brings me out for some sun. Then, she gives me a bath.
Toddlers and preschoolers, on the other hand, are already strong enough to do as they please and are testing the power of “no” – sometimes, even with a pout and crossed arms!
In my pursuit of positive parenting and positive discipline, though, I learned that I am not The Boss, and neither are my children. When we established and diligently followed a routine, our routine became The Boss.
Establishing and following a routine
Routines were easy when my babies were babies because I followed my own schedule. Now that the little ones have their own agenda, everyday things such as taking a bath, brushing teeth and going to sleep all become points of contention.
The best first step in establishing a routine is to discuss the most sensible and doable routine with your young child in a calm manner.
After you have decided together, you can make your own routine chart with just paper and pen. For the child who doesn’t read yet, you can download some visual reminders, such as soap, toothbrush, and comb for the morning routine. (You can use the free images in our free “Ay Naku!” unit study in our Downloads page.)
A routine chart, however, is not for rewarding our kids, but is just a guide for the day.
Once you’ve set it up, point out to the chart and reference it throughout the day. When your child resists, take him to the chart and talk about what the chart “says”.
Most importantly, be disciplined to follow through with the routine that you’ve set and avoid giving in to your child. After all, if we want to discipline and teach our children, we have to be disciplined ourselves.
What’s your routine like? Do share!