As families with growing children, we often have to evaluate the family routine. Our children change fast, and as parents, we have to navigate and set the pace for our families.
It can feel tricky, but as my family has rolled through quite a bit of different seasons, there’s a few questions that I ask myself when it’s time to re-evaluate.
1. What family/work/ministry season am I currently in or going to be in?
Last year I found myself in a season of homeschooling my kids while also needing to practice a lot of hospitality. A later bedtime (to enjoy the entertaining of dinner guests) and a later wake up time (to accommodate for a late bedtime) made sense. It allowed my kids to be a part of showing and learning hospitality.
2. What are the ages and current needs of my kids and how does that affect routine?
I remember like it was yesterday when my kids were babies and the need for a very structured routine. I timed grocery shopping with happy, rested kids. I made sure I was home for nap times and used that time for rest or productive activities like house cleaning. My kids are older now and don’t require naps, but instead they require adequate time for schoolwork and recharging. Staying in tune with these changes helps to create a routine that works for the whole family.
3. Am I incorporating regular dates with my spouse, regular family time, and “me” time?
I cringe a little inside when someone tells me, “Oh, I know you’re busy.” Honestly, friends, I hate busy. I feel like it’s a four letter word that can creep in ever so carefully and steal precious time right out from under me. Incorporating regular time with my spouse, family, and myself guards against regrets that can be a by-product of busy. The enemy is out to steal, kill, and destroy relationships. Let’s not give him that foothold. Make time for dates, praying as a family, devotions, games and the things that your family enjoys doing together.
Above all, the family is a place where we learn and grow deeper in Christ. The everyday family routine is the perfect opportunity to teach our kids how to navigate life with good character and a trust in Jesus. There have been times when I tried to fight the routine.
A word of advice: don’t fight it.
A life without routines creates stress, and a stressed out Mama produces stressed out kids. Routines are there to help us and empower us to be better parents. If your routine isn’t working for you, then sit with Jesus and ask if some things need to be tweaked. Get some perspective from your kids, too. They usually have tons of insight when we take the time to ask.
A new year equals new beginnings and fresh starts. It’s a chance to see what worked and what didn’t from the previous year. It’s full of anticipation for the new things God has in store for your family. Here’s to a lovely, fresh, wonderful, Jesus-filled 2014!
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:19
What tools do you use in setting a routine for your family? How do you use everyday family life to help your kids develop good character and a trust in Jesus?