Routines - for the entire family

29 January 2018
January, week 4 in The Simple Home

This is the final post for January, so let's recap what we've done so far.  This month has been all about planning and organising the year ahead as much as we can.  Hopefully you've been able to set up a home admin area - it might be a dedicated office or it could be the kitchen table with box of your admin things that can be used on the table then put away. Much of your home organisation can be done in your home admin area where you have what you need at hand. If you need to write something down or look something up, it's right there. Your calendars should be set now with all the known 2018 appointments and events, your food planning should be done and, if you're doing them, menu plans created. It will help a lot if you have a list of 2018 gifts organised and you've written a list of home maintenance that can be carried out during the year. These lists, menus, calendars and plans can be stored in your home folder and left in the admin area so all your bits and pieces, the things you need to run your home, are in one place. I hope you've had time to organise a drop zone, charging station and your work spaces to better suit how you work because that will be very useful as you progress through the year.  Some of those places might have to be modified in the coming weeks, so don't be afraid to adjust as you go.


ROUTINES
Now it's time to think about how you do your housework, what works and what doesn't, and when is the best time to do your work. A routine is a sequence of actions that are performed in the same way and at the same time. Routines will help you develop the habits of a working home and will make life easier. There are many ways of establishing your routines. For example, my morning routine is to have everything - breakfast, cleaning the kitchen, getting the lunch ready, making beds, laundry and watering the garden finished by 9am. Then I go on to do other things like craft work or writing until lunchtime - our main meal.  I try to get the active tasks done in the morning because I get tired in the afternoon.  If you go out to work or work at home, you could make up a list of tasks you want to complete before you leave for work or start work at home. These might include breakfast, packing the dishwasher or washing up, getting the children off to school and workers off to work - with lunches packed the night before, and having something either in the slow cooker or defrosting for dinner that night. And while everyone else in the house is getting ready for the day ahead, they should be doing their routines too.  Children should make their bed, dress for school, put PJs away, have breakfast, pack their lunch and homework in their school bag and clean their teeth.

Part of the routine is that everyone knows what they have to do and you don't have to prompt them to do what they have to do.


At this time of year, routines, with children and partners doing their fair share, should be part of a family discussion. Of course, parents will do most of the housework but you should explain that housework is not YOUR work, everyone should help because you're all part of your family.  Usually younger children will do what they have been taught to do and will follow the example of the family, especially the older children. Many older children see the advantages of helping at home but if they don't, withholding pocket money for a couple of weeks will often adjust their thinking.  I think that when routines are working well and everyone is doing their fair share, households run more smoothly, there is less stress and tension at home and there is more time to have fun.




None of us are born knowing what we have to do in life - be that in the family home, at school or at work. It has to be taught and that is done effectively by discussing chores and routines with children when they're young and by them observing you, their role model. If you develop positive habits when children are young, and tell them what your expectations are, they usually grow up with a sense of responsibility and purpose, knowing they're part of their family and willing to do their fair share.  I've seen children grow up without been taught how to look after themselves, and with no expectations of helping with the housework, and they've tended to sit back in their adult lives too and expect everything to be done for them.  

During your family discussion, work out who is doing what, at what time and how long is should take to complete the work. You can have afternoon and evening routines as well as weekly and monthly ones.   For example, evening routines would be preparing lunches for the next day, setting the table for breakfast, preparing breakfast and leaving it in the fridge, preparing clothes to be worn the following day, showering and putting dirty clothes in the laundry hamper. It's convenient if you can get everyone to have a simple breakfast during the week and then make a fuss of breakfast on the weekends. Weekly routines would be doing the grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning floors and bathrooms, taking the bins out and in again; monthly routines would be cleaning out the chicken coop, lawn mowing, house maintenance  etc.  Here are some good checklists that may help you establish your routines and some chore charts.





Weekends are a great time to establish a family routine of spending time together doing something you all love, such as homemade pizzas and a movie, a game in the park or swimming at the beach. This teaches younger family members, and reminds older ones, that the work to keep the family home running well benefits everyone and it gives you time to be together and have fun.

You can develop routines for the entire family that aren't so much about housework but more an exercise in building a strong family. These might be sitting down for your evening meal together - with no electronics at the table (ever), showing support for each other by attending important events together or spending time with the children to help with homework and talk to them about school and their friends.  Everyone will have their own way of doing all these things, and that is a good thing, but it all needs to be organised, discussed and possibly written down now, in January, before the year starts getting really busy.  Here is a site with a good discussion about family routines.

Be guided by what you read here, there is a lot more in the January section of The Simple Home too, but in the end, make sure you have a set of routines that make sense to you. Those routines have the potential to help build useful and productive habits to take you and your family through this year and many years to come.