Routines? Really? Do I have to?
I resist routines. I prefer spontaneity and take it as it comes. Routine to me equals a rigid schedule, being on the clock. That kind of routine means law and order, which brings out my perfectionism. If there's a routine to follow, then I will know when I don't do it perfectly. I can't do it perfectly, so why even try?
Real logical right?
Let's see what the card actually says:
Help children create routine charts to encourage self-discipline.
Nothing too menacing there. If I think of routines as a "flexible order of events," they're not so scary. Let's go on:
- Create routine charts WITH your child -- sounds doable, even fun!
- Brainstorm tasks that need to be done (bedtime, morning, homework, etc.) -- This part sounds a little scary. Do I write down what we actually do, or what I want to happen in an ideal world?
- Take pictures of your child doing each task -- sounds really fun!
- Let the routine chart be the boss: "What is next on your routine chart?" -- I've been doing something like this already when C gets out of the bath wanting to nurse. "What do we still have to do before bed?" I ask. "Pajamas, brush teeth, THEN we nurse."
- Do not take away from feelings of capability by adding rewards.
Here's a glimpse of our current dinner/bedtime/nighttime/morning "routine" (what typically happens, but not always):
- I get dinner made and put it to the side. DH gets home late (around 8) from work, and C mostly refuses to eat formal dinner without him, but she'll ask for snacks while we wait. By the time he gets home, she's no longer super hungry.
- DH gets home and unwinds a bit while I actually put dinner on the table.
- We all sit at the table and DH says it's time to pray before we eat.
- C says she doesn't want to pray.
- We start to pray without her.
- C protests that she wanted to pray.
- We start over and/or let her say a prayer.
- Eat dinner. C often doesn't want to eat, gets up and down from the table, climbs in my lap, plays with her food, says she's not hungry.
- With her food only half eaten, C announces she's ready for a bath and asks to ride on Daddy's back.
- C rides on daddy's back like a horse or get a piggy back ride from mama to the bathroom.
- C takes a long leisurely bath that involves more play than cleaning.
- C climbs out of the bath and gets her towel.
- C asks to nurse.
- I remind C that she needs pajamas on and teeth brushed before she can nurse.
- We get on pajamas.
- C asks to nurse.
- I remind C that we need to brush teeth before we nurse.
- C protests that she is hungry and usually goes back to the table to get more dinner.
- C finishes eating.
- Brush teeth
- C insists on a hug and kiss goodnight from DH.
- C insists on having DH refill her water cup (even if it's already full).
- All three of us sit together in her darkened room while she winds down. Sometimes we do a story or song at this point, sometimes I lay down with her, sometimes I hold her until she's asleep and then put her down.
- We sneak out of her room somewhere between 9:30 and 10:30.
- She wakes up some time between midnight and 2:00 a.m. and joins us in bed.
- She wakes up again when the sun comes up and nurses back to sleep.
- She wakes up again somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30 asking for breakfast and to go potty.
- We get up for the day.
- We eat breakfast in our pajamas.
- We parents take turns getting ready and dressed. At some point I help get C ready and dressed.
- C and I go outside to water the garden and tend the chickens while DH finishes getting ready.
- Wave goodbye to Daddy as he leaves for work.
I'd appreciate any help brainstorming ways to tweak this routine, or gentle suggestions of where I can better balance kind and firm.