“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine”- Mike Murdock
I completely agree.
A routine sets a decorum in life. It creates a reason to live, making us focus on things that are in our list of priority. These routines allow people to have a step by step path towards their set goals. For instance, if becoming successful or published as an author is of paramount importance in a writer’s life, then a routine is crucial. A routine, which incorporates a fixed slot for reading and writing every day, is just a step by step guide to help become one!
Routines create certainty and predictability and are therefore helpful in sustaining a stable, stress free life in individuals. Without routines, people are most likely to feel lost, restless, and even aimless. Such people might find it hard to focus on tasks as well. The habit of jumping from one task to another without finishing it, simply shows the lack of having the habit of following a routine in one’s life.
In short, routines cannot be followed overnight, they have to be consciously practiced. It is a habit and hence, should be inculcated right from childhood.
Routines in the daily life of a child fulfill some very necessary requirements. They create comfortable boundaries, giving children, even infants, a sense of safety and emotional security. The repetition of activities, at a set time, every day, makes the children feel more secure and safe. The set defined boundaries allow them to navigate the challenges of learning new things with ease, on a regular basis.
Let me elaborate on how setting routines helped me, in my hey-days as a mother.
Like every newbie mother, challenges poured in from day one. The biggest challenge arrived with the arrival of my baby, demanding an overnight change in lifestyle. Right from sleepless nights to a horde of child rearing challenges, the entire lifestyle underwent a massive makeover within zero time frame.
Within a few weeks of my son’s arrival, my life had lost its regular pace. Suddenly a lot of new things and new activities had zoomed in, throwing me off balance. While on one hand I was enjoying my 3.3 kg creation, on the other hand I was equally baffled with the array of activities that followed suit. Suddenly, the baby’s sleeping, feeding, pooping schedule took the center stage, while everything else was thrown in the background. I was getting more stressed as I didn’t know how to prioritize my work and the baby!
After a few weeks of sleepless nights with the baby, I figured that a schedule or a routine was imperative for keeping my sanity in check.
Hence, my routine became a possibility only once I had set a schedule for the baby! With regular timeline set for activities, he was more co-operative, less cranky and moreover, a happy bouncing baby! I was happy too!
The importance of having a routine right from an infant stage, helps a child get used to doing the same things at the same time, every day. Whether it is play time, meal time, bath time or even sleeping time, the baby gets used to the clock and starts responding comfortably. Any deviation in the set regular pattern is likely to make a child cranky and irritable.
For instance, it is best to take babies or toddlers for outings only after they are well fed or well rested. If not, then they are likely to have a meltdown, causing a lot of stress to parents. Having a routine for a baby keeps the parents mentally geared for any setbacks. That way, as parents we are all the more guarded and emotionally stable to handle any nemesis involving kids’ meltdowns.
Since for most of the newbie mothers, finding time and rest is a question mark, so it’s always safe to create a plan or routine for the baby first. Once the routine is set, mothers can plan their routine around it. This not just allows both the baby and mother to enjoy with each other, but it helps in building a decorum in this initial chaotic phase of life.
Make sure, you increase the routine flow chart of activities gradually as the growing child will slowly improve his ability to cope more. Too many activities are likely to disturb him and cause discomfort.
Discipline starts with parents. In fact, the term “discipline” is derived from a Latin word ‘disciplina’, which means ‘to teach’ or ‘to guide’. After all, we are the first teachers for our children, so who better than us! Hence, showing a routine or disciplined life will go a long way in inculcating the right skills of discipline in your child as well.
From waking up on a certain time, to eating healthy, playing, staying active, socializing to hitting the bed, every event is a crucial part of living and life and hence, should be consciously made a part of a child’s routine. A healthy daily routine, incorporating a healthy dose of every aspect is what will help you in accomplishing your child’s holistic growth.
When my son was an infant, I started prioritizing my work in between the breaks I got during his sleeping time, which were not much honestly, but still they helped in improving my efficiency with work. Slowly and steadily, I started incorporating more and more, leaving room for spontaneous last moment changes. They helped in bringing back a sense of discipline and also some amount of self-control and stability into my life.
My child does have a routine now, yet I still have to leave plenty of room for those last moment meltdowns and crankiness. Yet, I’m hopeful because he is inching towards progress with his set pattern of activities. For instance, with a set routine in picture, my three year old kid understands that book reading ritual happens right before his bedtime. At this hour, he is tired and hence, is happy to unwind the day with books. I face less struggle and therefore, a co-operative book reading time with him.
While making routines should be a way of life, yet it shouldn’t be practiced too rigidly. A little room for that impromptu plan or spontaneous outing should always be kept. It helps in breaking the monotony, while staying focused too. For instance, I keep a routine fixed for my family, yet I always have one day of a week unplanned or with a different routine. This leaves room for some unforeseen changes and I believe a child also learns to appreciate sudden changes in routine without getting worked up. This allows him to be more accepting towards changes in life, or when things don’t go as planned, thereby making him a tad bit more spontaneous. As for me as a parent, I too stay mentally prepared for those days when there’s a sudden need to change the routine with a child.
A good habit right from the start. It’s very essential for kids to have a pattern in life by way of schedules. Repetition builds a sense of achievement, a sense of satisfaction, and a heightened sense of control, thereby fueling their self-esteem. Once the habit is set, a child will stay disciplined even when old. I believe even in later stages, when higher studies or other social activities will come into picture, a child will know how to park his time for them in an efficient way.
A child will understand that routine is all about his goals and achieving them in process. It gives life a meaning and stimulates a sense of purpose. The series of small wins by way of goals, help in making one feel successful in life. Hence, a healthy routine is a jumpstart on the ladder of success. Cultivate this habit in yourself and your children and you will see noticeable positive improvements in every sphere.