Monday, January 4, 2010

Finding Joy in Routines

I was so glad to get back to our usual routine today. It was back to the usual breakfast together, the usual school time together, the usual lunch and dinner together. The usual errands and the usual outing tonight. There is Joy in the usual routine. I find Joy that we are a family for all our meals around the table with no television or other screens in sight. I find Joy in the family discussion during these meals. The usual routine is comforting to me.

I am often asked what I do to balance homeschooling, writing, owning a business and keeping home. I didn't always have a balance, and occassionally that blance tips to one side more than the other. I craved reading organization books when my children were younger. I thought there was some single answer to getting everything in order. There isn't! What works for some families won't work for other families. For my family it was establishing routines.

I set out to establish routines one at a time. When the kids were still very young I started with the very basic routines: we were up and dressed and fed by 9am. Then I added everyone was to be in bed by 8:30pm. Then we added expectations to that routines. We were each "expected" to pick up after ourselves. If you went to bed and left something out, then it went in the Saturday Box. This Saturday Box was emptied on the following Saturday. So if you couldn't pick up after yourself you lost your stuff. Sure, those were easy in the beginning.

Now that I have three teenagers, life looks a bit different, maybe even rigid to an outsider. Everyone must be up, showered and to the breakfast table by 8am. Some get up earlier and begin school lessons before breakfast, as he or she has the desire to be done with schoolwork prior to lunchtime. And, due to ages the kids have staggered bedtimes in the evening. We have specific rules about "screen times" too. We are trying to instill good habits in our children before they leave home.

We have routines for most everything in our home. Routines make life so much easier knowing everyhting can be done and we can head out for fun too! If you are trying to establish some routines are your house, remember not to try it all at once. Choose one thing and do it well. It takes 28 days to establish a new routine. Set your expectations on "realistic" mode not "idealistic" mode. You can find Joy in routines.

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