Let’s face it, routines get a bad wrap.
When I was in college, I could tell you what day it was by the not-so-appetizing main dish offered in our dorm’s cafeteria. Thursdays, my roommate and I would opt for a meager, yet decadent dinner of bottomless bowls of Coco Puffs in order to steer clear of the planned mystery ground beef concoction featured on the menu board. While mystery meat Thursday is admittedly a routine worth avoiding, that doesn’t mean all routines should be ditched. Think about the fun conjured up in one’s imagination with a simple Taco Tuesday Night? Isn’t that a plan we can get behind in a family?
According to a recent study on the impact of ritualizing things in our days and weeks, routines offer real benefits for everyone.
- Reduce stress because we know what to expect in the day ahead. It lessens decision fatigue.
- Help us sleep better. Sleep schedules and bedtime habits affect quality of sleep.
- Improve health. If you set aside time for breakfast, exercise, or a daily prayer/meditation you’re building healthy habits into the day which pay off in the future.
- Set a good example to our children, by empowering them with more self-control which leads to greater self-esteem.
I’m not sure the Ancient Greeks were big fans of Taco Tuesday Night, but Aristotle sure gets the point of living a life of character—it’s about structuring your days so healthy habits stick. It doesn’t mean every moment must be strictly regimented and planned, but loose structure can provide a supportive framework for every family in need of an occasional boost. What family doesn’t need that?
Think about some of the ways your family is struggling this summer or maybe over the past year. Is it:
- Too much screen time
- Not enough fun togetherness
- No order—messes, clutter, sleeping too late, no one’s doing chores...
- An abundance of bickering and yelling
Or maybe, it’s a combo. Pick a weekly themed evening to instill a routine that helps battle the most pressing problem.
Problem: Screen time overload
Routine Solution: Institute Wi-Fi FREE Fridays. That doesn't mean everyone gets free wi-fi. Oh no—on the given day, everyone’s cut off, including you, mom and dad. Go for a nature walk, head to the library, enjoy quiet reading time. Just get off the screen!
Problem: Not Enough Family Togetherness
Routine Solution: Designate a game night. This would happen preferably after a fun dinner—maybe pizza or taco tuesday? Is your family already getting together for the Family Huddle? You could tack on a game night to make that night of the week even more enjoyable.
Problem: A lack of order & too much disorganization
Routine Solution: Pick days of the week to target the situation. Maybe Mondays is deemed early rise day (everyone up by 8am) and involves a half hour of pitching in with household tasks. Or designate an evening to de-clutter together. Add some music to liven things up. Rotate who gets to play DJ and choose the playlist, but get cleaning.
Problem: Bickering and yelling are always going to be a part of family life, but when it gets out of hand, no bueno!
Routine Solution: There are ways to use routines in order to institute more peace and calm. Make it part of your evening routine to have each family member offer their sincere apology for one of the many squabbles of the day. Ritualize forgiveness into your evening routine. Or try a special activity that requires everyone being generous with compliments and hugs. Increase good behavior with positivity and rewards instead of punishing bad behavior.
Whatever your family is dealing with, there’s a positive routine that's waiting to lend some help. It’s never too late to start. Simply tap into your inner PR agent and start spreading the word. Simple tip—use alliteration whenever possible. Why do you think Taco Tuesday is a thing? Try Friday Forgiveness Day, No-Screen Sunday, Wednesday Night Walk, Board Game Themed Thursday. I could go on, but I won’t put you through that. The point is, family life requires a little structure, so have fun with it. Give your kids something to shoot for in their daily and weekly routines, and watch character strength soar in your home.
The Families of Character core tools—the Family Huddle and the 5-Star Days checklist, institute simple daily/weekly routines that lead to good habits for the whole family. If you’re interested in tapping into all that family life has to offer—more pitching-in, togetherness, and laughter, check out our subscription box experience, Adventure into Character. We’ll be your guide as you implement fortifying routines that are a snap! Be your family’s hero as you lead the whole crew to lasting transformation with simple daily steps. But shhh… they won’t even realize it’s happening. Your family will unbox our successful fun & effective core tools, along with engaging activities to help create a routine of character growth. What are you waiting for? The first tiny step in the right direction is often the biggest step of your life...
If you have an issue you’d like our help with, drop us a line at Hello@FamiliesofCharacter.com. If you’re experiencing a problem, chances are thousands of other families are in the same boat. We’re ALL in this parenting boat together!
Remember to tap into our Thrive Community on Facebook. It’s free and our team’s very own clinical counselor offers helpful tips and encouragement to parents who are adventuring together.