You’re not alone.
At Tender Hearts Child Therapy Center, in family counseling we help parents who are facing daily battles with their children. One suggestion we have for parents in family counseling is to implement some family routines. It’s amazing how quickly some of your daily battles with your children will be resolved when you implement and stick to family routines.
4 Tips to Start a Morning Family Routine:
1. When you first begin a family routine for the mornings, you’ll find that the routine will be more successful if you wake up earlier than you think you need to at first. Get everyone in the household up at least 15 minutes earlier than you think you are going to need. This includes parents. If you have to have your morning coffee before waking the kids, start an additional 15 minutes earlier. This will give the whole family enough time to get everything done before heading off to school and work and not be rushed or running late. As your family gets more comfortable with the family routine and things begin to run more smoothly in the mornings, you can adjust your wake-up times.
2. The second tip we tell parents in family counseling sessions is to get everything done the night before that can be done. For example, pack lunches, lay out clothes, plan breakfast, gather up homework and all other school items in backpacks and put backpacks by the door. For younger kids (or teenagers who just take too long) get showers and baths the night before, as well.
3. To make mornings run even better, give your children more responsibility. Have a morning checklist for your children. This can be an actual checklist or just one that parents go over with their children before leaving. Checklists can include things like:
• Eating breakfast
• Getting dressed
• Hair and teeth brushed
• Put on shoes
• Get backpacks and lunches
4. To try to avoid the morning procrastinators, give your children an incentive if they get ready early. Allow them some time for TV, reading, a computer game, or something else they like to do before heading off to school.
Tender Hearts Family Counseling Tips for Afternoon and Evening Routines:
Since most families are super busy with after-school activities, it’s easy to get out of daily routines. However, as we tell parents in family counseling sessions, children need routines to feel safe and secure in their environments. Regardless of how many after-school activities your child participates in, there is one thing that every child needs to have in his afternoon and evening routine: homework. It is very important early in the school year to establish a homework routine for your children, even if homework is light in the beginning of the year, but it’s never too late to begin a new family afternoon routine.
Sample Afternoon Family Routine:
- Provide a healthy snack, but not too close to dinner.
- Allow some “down time.” Younger children will want to play and be physical to burn off the energy built up from sitting all day at school. Older children will probably want to watch TV or socialize with their friends
- For younger children, check backpacks every night for notes from the teacher and homework. Add important school dates to your family calendar.
- For older children, review assignments, homework, and projects from each class. This can be something as simple as asking your child what he did in math class, science class, English class, etc. while you are preparing dinner.
- Provide a space for your child to complete his homework. Remove distractions from the homework area so that your child can focus on the homework.
- Check or review homework for completion once your child has finished and pack everything in the child’s backpack for a smoother morning.
Finally, while routines are important for children, it is also important to be flexible with your routines. We tell parents in family counseling that it’s important to make changes as necessary to fit your lifestyle. For example, if you always fix a big breakfast for your children, but you consistently run 10 minutes late, try simplifying breakfast to cereal and toast and save those big breakfasts for the weekends.
If you’re exhausted from the daily battles with your children, family counseling can provide you with support and practical strategies to help end the battles once and for all. Tender Hearts Child Therapy Center specializes in providing Family Counseling to specifically address your family’s unique needs. We don’t use cookie-cutter methods in our family counseling sessions. We pull from a variety of parenting methods to help you find the solutions that work best for your family. Call us Today!