Many moms feel overwhelmed when thinking about creating a family schedule. Here is more detail if you’re interested. But, if the thought of maintaining a daily schedule causes anxiety and “schedule stress” for you, check out these 2 simple things you can do to make creating and keeping a family schedule simple.
2 Easy Ways to Create (and Keep) a Family Schedule
#1 Create a Predictable Routine
The first thing you need to know is that brains are pattern-seeking.
This means that we each have a biochemical preference for a specific routine or rhythm and our brains (and therefore our bodies) feel, think, and act our BEST when we know what to expect to happen first, next, and last in a given situation.
All humans have a specific biochemical preference for daily and weekly rhythms. Therefore, having a predictable routine (which may sound less scary than “schedule” for you) is going to be helpful for everyone in your home as you raise up your children in the way they should go.
Just start with something!
Go to bed and wake up at about the same time each night. You may be so tempted to “continue watching” if you don’t have to get up early to get ready for school and work. But resist! Your body and brain – and your kids’ bodies and brains – need some predictability! (Let me know if you are struggling with this in your home – I can help!).
Next, tackle meal times. If you are all waking up about the same time, you can eat breakfast together. Or, if your children are older, each of them could take turns preparing lunch for the family. If they aren’t old enough yet to tackle this on their own, maybe one day could be “Mom and Mike make dinner” and the next could be “Dad and Joanie make lunch.” It would be helpful for your children to have a hand in serving each other so they (and you) could help make sure they’re not just looking out for their own needs, but helping take care of each other.
#2 Make daily commitments and share them with each other for accountability.
This is basically just goal-setting but it gives every family member a “focus” for the day. You may want to start off with just one commitment or goal. With two teen boys in my home, we try to make three each day: One Personal, One Relational, and One Learning Commitment
It is helpful to do this first thing in the morning (maybe at breakfast together). Older kids may roll their eyes at it. But after a couple of days of setting goals and then following up in the evening, even your teens will admit that it is pretty cool to see how they are able to accomplish more with this daily commitment-making!
Here’s an example of how this may work in your home:
It’s breakfast and you are sitting enjoying your tea and toast or whatever and you say, “Today, I am going to do 10 push-ups, work on being present when you speak to me and read one chapter of my book. What would YOU like to accomplish today?”
Depending on the ages of your children, of course, this is going to look different. They may say, “Today, I am not going to fight with my brother.” Help them reframe it to what it is they are going TO DO rather than NOT going to do! So you would say, “Today, you are going to use kind words with your brother and/or let him have the first turn and/or only use gentle touches?”
The evening follow-up is the one of the two most important steps in making daily commitments!
At dinner or before bed, you say, “Today I set a goal to do 10 push-ups, work on being present when you speak to me, and read one chapter of my book. Well, I forgot to do the push-ups. But I made sure to put my phone down when you talked to me and did read one chapter of my book. How did you do with your commitment?”
#2. NO JUDGEMENT:
Do not judge yourself or your children on the follow-through. Whether they followed through or not with their commitments is on them (and you!). So, if your child says, “I wanted to use kind words with my brother, but I called him a butt-head.” OR if she says, “I used kind words with my brother” but you heard her call him a butt-head. Just. Listen. And nod. AND DON’T SAY ANYTHING! This may be the hardest thing you will do today! But, you want to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in your child. You just accept what they say with love and grace and trust that our Sovereign God knows and is on top of it!
These two easy ways to create and maintain a family schedule will help provide predictable days for the entire family. You can make and keep daily commitments! As always, if you need assistance with creating connections that increase cooperation in your home, please let me know. You are not alone. I can help!
ConnectPointMoms helps you create stronger relational connections with the children in your life. This starts with being aware of your own stuff so you can BE PRESENT with your children in the moment you’re in, and then knowing and using the best ways to communicate with them! For quick, helpful parenting videos, find “Kate Connects” on YouTube or join our Facebook group to find encouraging supportive moms struggling through it all together!