Monday, April 18, 2016

The Importance of Routines for a Healthy, Happy Family

We started going to counseling to help support Henry with his self-regulation, and the first thing the therapist wanted to know about was our routines. 

I didn't realize our life was so routinized until I started explaining it! 
  • The boys wake up around 6:45am. We lay together for a few minutes and then I start getting ready for work. 
  • Matt takes care of getting the boys ready in the morning (she was pleased that he was a really active and involved father) while I head to work. I do a connection ritual with the boys before I leave.
  • I pick up the boys around 4:30, and we are home by 4:45. Since I prep most of our meal ingredients on Sunday, it only takes me about 15 minutes to have dinner on the table. We eat, play, do bath, read, tell stories, and turn off the lights by 6:30pm. 
  • I explained that we try to give the boys wide open time to relax, play, and connect. Whenever possible, we avoid taking them on errands (like to Target). We do fun things together on the weekends, like go to the Wildflower Center. 
I'm sharing all of this because the therapist was excited to hear about how structured our life is. She explained that she usually has to coach families into putting more routines into place. She explained that this kind of structure helps children feel safe. 

Since we recently started Aikido (to help Henry work on his self-control), our Saturdays have gotten a little crazy. His Aikido class starts at 9am, so we usually try to rush to the lake so I can run for 45 minutes and the boys can go to the dog park while they wait for me. I can already feel that adding one 30-minute activity is adding unnecessary stress into our lives. 

We've done it for about a month now and it hasn't gotten less stressful. The time is just too tight and I end up feeling like I am rushing my children everywhere. When I stopped to think about it, I realized there was no reason why I absolutely had to run on Saturday. For the most part, I can run on Sunday and we can free up our Saturday morning to be more relaxed before Aikido. 

It feels pretty silly to admit that it took me a whole month to question and reorganize our routine, but it is what it is! It was a good reminder to stay reflective about our schedule and make sure that it always works for us. When it doesn't, we need to make a change! 

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