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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Routine. Why we wouldn't be without...



What is routine and why is it important?


A routine is said to give a child a sense of security, stability and comfort. It helps children to know what's expected of them and gives them the reassurance of normality. Routine is a way of life, a way of doing things in which we can become accustomed to. A routine is followed regularly and provides enjoyment and happiness for those involved even if they don't realise it. Routine can give us all peace of mind and can start to create a pathway for a happy and healthy future.


A routine that suits us.


The basis of our sanity relies heavily on routine. Having two under two for 8 month and now having two, two and under means that we can feel at times as though we are about to lose our minds, it can mean that, what feel like never ending days are too soon followed by early mornings.
The beauty of routine is that we know we'll get that well earned downtime, the few hours at the end of the day to unwind and relax. It's what keeps us going sometimes and gives us hope that tomorrow could be different.

Don't get me wrong, we have our good days too and routine fits in nicely with those. We all know where we stand and we're able to plan ahead meaning more enjoyable days out and relaxing, fun afternoons in.

Our routine has enabled us to set bedtimes and not have to struggle with two tired humans when 7pm arrives, it's enabled the children to enjoy bathtime and accept that their teeth and hair will be brushed. 

Routines change over time, as children grow they need changes although these are brought about slowly and aren't drastic but still enough for them to have a sense of change and be able to enjoy the new settings for awhile.

We've loosened up a bit over the past 4 month since Tyler no longer has an afternoon sleep, but I like to think our routine is still rather strict, meaning that we tend to stick to it as much as we possibly can and have little, if any, disturbances. Is this always practical? Most of the time we make it work, there have been times where we have stayed out slightly after bed time but together Dan and I agree that it's best for all of us if we arrange our lives around our routine.


Mornings

Mornings tend to be free time, meaning no routine as such other than breakfast. Tyler and Tianne are able to wake when they like, breakfast is usually given half an hour after they have woken up, this seems to work nicely since offering them breakfast too soon usually means they won't eat much. Routine at breakfast has meant that less food is wasted and results in fuller tummies for the first part of the day.

Meal times

Lunch time is generally between 12am and 1pm and tea time is between 5.30 and 6pm. For our meal times, including breakfast, we sit at the table together and try to encourage Tyler to sit until we have all finished. We encourage him and give him activities to take his mind of the wait but feel this also helps with his behaviour when we have meals outside the home.

Bedtime

Bedtime is the most important part of our routine and the part we tend to be the strictest about. We usually bath Tyler and Tianne every other night although there are times where it needs to be every night. They spend about 30 mins to an hour in the bath together since they both enjoy and look forward to splashing around. We dress them in their pyjamas and come downstairs to watch In The Night Garden. They're given a warm drink each and Tianne is the first to go up at 7pm. Tianne goes up first as she tends to need more sleep than Tyler does, but Tyler soon follows at 7.30pm. We will read 2-3 short books to each of them and we sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. They're then tucked up into bed and we say our goodnights.

We can walk out of both bedrooms after saying goodnight and we won't hear another sound from either of them until morning. There is no climbing out of bed, no screaming, no crying. Just sleep... Silence. 
It's taken time especially with Tyler but we have finally developed a routine that we are pleased with and feel all the hard work has paid off.


Routine isn't for everybody, some may not be in a situation that allows them to stick to a routine and find it difficult. Everybody does these things differently but for us it's a lifesaver, we wouldn't have it any other way and we work to ensure the routine is abided by as much as possible. We believe that it's down to our routine that we have two extremely happy children.


It hasn't always been this way.


Tyler started off as many first children do, there was no routine and there were no rules. We found this difficult and we were still getting up through the night with him until he was 12 month which was really wearing both Dan and I out. After deciding enough was enough we took control and introduced, slowly, a routine that worked for us at the time. Knowing Tianne was on the way we needed to be organised. The routine that Tyler began following was similar to what we have in place now, meal times and bedtime very much the same but things such as afternoon sleeps have decreased until he eventually grew out of them altogether. 

Tianne was in special care for two weeks before coming home where they had her in a routine of their own, being fed every four hours. We were able to take this away with us and stick to this while gradually modifying hers into ours. Tianne was 2 month old when she first slept through the night and has done so every night to this day. She has meal times with Tyler and since she began sleeping through, a bedtime of 7.00pm.


As a result we're a happier family, knowing what to expect from each other. Dan and I are able to look forward to having night times to ourselves. There's a much more pleasant atmosphere then us walking around like zombies. I've also been able to take up hobbies such as cheerleading and blogging. Tyler and Tianne get a good nights sleep and wake up feeling fresh which results in better behaviour and a much calmer household.
Routine is all it's made out to be and more, it's not always easy to establish a good routine, in fact it can be one of the hardest things to stick to when the going gets tough but the hard work does pay off and at the end of it all, when your relaxing after a long day with the children tucked up in bed, you will thank yourself and it will all have been worth it.

What are your views on routine? Is routine something you believe in, does it make a difference to your lives?

Lots of Love



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