Posts filed under ‘Young children, toddlers, routines, schedules, bedtime’

Parents: Need Help With Your ROUTINES?

When I was growing up, getting ready for my new school year was a BIG deal! We didn’t have school uniforms to worry about, but getting first day outfits and our routines in place was top on my mother’s list of To-dos. My mom was the queen of organization and routines,! Everything was a well-organized process. 

As a kid, her routines were a pain in the neck. But what I didn’t know was that each routine she established for us, made it easier to run the household and manage my brother, sister and I. She rarely got rattled, unless of course we didn’t follow the routine. And it wasn’t good when we didn’t follow Mom’s routines. Her processes and routines were like growing up in a well-run manufacturing plant. Everything had a place (organization) and there was a routine for mornings (before school), afternoons (after school) and evenings.

As I got older, my mother explained her rationale behind her fanatical routines and why it was so important to get us involved at an early age. For example, she had a rule that we couldn’t take our afternoon naps until we had put away our toys. This is important for those of you with young children who hate to take naps (like I did). She had me convinced that I couldn’t go to sleep UNTIL my toys were put in the toy box. I didn’t think to say – “Hey Mom, I don’t want to take a nap at all!” All I knew what that I couldn’t put my toys away fast enough to take my nap. The key here is that you start teaching your children at two & three years old to pick up their toys. It’s much easier to get their cooperation at this age, rather than wait until they are five & six to teach this concept.

As much as I joke about my mother and her routines, they worked well for me when I became a mom. I have an entire list of practical tips to help you establish routines whether your children are in preschool, elementary or high school. For today’s blog however, I will share 5 tips with you.

  • Tip 1: Give yourself 45-60 minutes before you wake up your child(ren).
    This time without little people talking to you is golden. Pray/meditate/exercise and take your shower. If you are leaving the house for work, put on your make-up. This is important especially to do before your preschool aged children (who are not used to doing tasks without your help and may not be morning people) get up.
  • Tip 2: Wake up your child (ren) an hour before they have to leave home.
    This tip goes hand in hand with Tip 1, if you have children who don’t like getting up in the mornings. It’s nothing like rushing a cranky kid out of the house. An hour may not be enough time (you be the judge), but it gives your son or daughter time to get acclimated to being awake, talking with you and their siblings and getting ready for school
  • Tip 3: Establish a bedtime for ALL school aged children (even high schoolers) preferably by 8:30 pm.
    I know I know! The teen can’t believe you’re making him or her go to bed at a specific time (without their phone and iPad). Surely the world is going to end! I had an 8:30 pm bedtime throughout my high schools years and I hated it. I also hated getting up at 5 am to make it to my 8 am classes way across town. As an educator, if my students got sleepy in class, we would talk about their bedtime and often they were allowed to talk on their cell phones throughout the night. AMAZING! How do you function with raging hormones, lots of class work, extracurricular and no sleep?
  • Tip 4: Look in their backpack (daily).
    When our children start pre-school, it’s a given that you will check their backpacks daily. It’s important because you may be putting in a change of clothes daily and who wants to leave soiled clothes in a backpack overnight? Yuck! But once your child starts elementary school, a daily backpack check is just as important to keep up with notes and homework assignments that are being sent home by their teacher. It not only keeps you up to speed on what’s going on in class, it helps your child with organization.
  • Tip 5: Connect with your middle & high schoolers every day.
    This is near and dear to my heart for two reasons. One: bullying is rampant in middle school and high school. I ran home from school every day in fifth grade because of a school bully and it was a nightmare. My mom helped me get to the point where I wasn’t afraid of the school bully, but it was a process. Since I share a room with my sister, there was no retreating to my room and closing the door. My folks wouldn’t hear of it. Fast forward to today with social media and instant communications, I would have probably tried to hide what was going on by retreating to my room and silently burying my shame. Two: Middle and high schoolers have LOTS of secrets. Taking time to have a real conversation daily is important. You never know what they will tell you. BTW – ask open ended questions like “tell me about your day”.

Interested in learning more about your family’s dynamics? Contact me to receive information about my inspirational & practical parenting programs. Click Here to become a part of my parenting community.

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru

Family Dynamics Strategist, Author & Speaker


August 13, 2017 at 3:24 pm Leave a comment

Routine! Routine! Schedule…

I don’t normally write about parenting young children because I feel that the market is already saturated  with experts on early childhood rearing. However, this summer I had a several opportunities to observe not only my family but also other families who are raising young children and I had some thoughts.

I’m a free spirit and enjoyed being out most of the day when my kids were little. But they taught me that they needed structure like regular mealtimes, naps and bedtimes. 

When my daughter was young, I worked jobs that required me to be out of the house for long periods of time. When she was first born, we had a nanny and when the nanny was off, I had a hard time getting my daughter to go to sleep whether it was nap time or bed time. Our nanny relationship lasted for a year and I found that I had the responsibility for getting my daughter to sleep at night as well as on the weekends. It took some creativity and a lot of times of putting her back to bed before we were able to get her to sleep at night without getting up every few minutes.

For those of you who are sleep deprived and completely exhausted, here’s what I did. I went back to how I was raised with a few modifications. 

My parents had routines for us as children and as teens. The routines were consistent and impartial.  There were times to do homework, time to eat dinner, time to complete household chores, and time to go to bed. We seldom strayed from those routines even when I attended high school.

Understandably, young children can’t set their routines like when & what to eat, as well as when to sleep. And, depending on your parenting style, establishing any routine can be challenging to put in place. If you’ve allowed your son or daughter to sleep with you OR you sleep with them, setting a bedtime and having them sleep in their own bed is pretty traumatic for both of you. Start now and stick to it. Make it fun by making a game out of it. Children love games! Have dinner at a specific time everyday. The dinner doesn’t have to be formal or fancy, your goal is to start a routine of eating together. During dinner ask what book they want you to read (to them) at bedtime. As it gets close to bedtime, ask them about their favorite part of the day and share yours. Make sure they aren’t hungry. Give them a bath. Have them brush their teeth. One final trip to the bathroom. Say prayers. Read a short book. Give them a hug & kiss. Say goodnight

Here are 3 suggestions for establishing a bedtime routine for your 2 or 3 year old:

1. Have them pick up their toys before nap or bedtime by making it a game.

2. Tell them what you’re going to do before you do it AND what you want them to do.

3. When it is time for bed, let them know that you expect them to go to bed and to sleep. They may continue to ask for water, another story or for you to sleep with them. Kindly and firmly say goodnight.

Interested in learning more about your family’s dynamics? Contact me – Ms. Parent Guru to receive information about my inspiring parenting programs for aging parents, Mothers and Daughters or Mothers and their Sons.
Click Here to join my parenting community.

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru
Family Dynamics Strategist, Coach & Author

September 21, 2016 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

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