Routine: A Swear Word for Parents
Did you know that the most annoying phrase on the planet whenever you’re complaining that your tired is, “you need to get them in a routine”?
It’s one of the phrases that can set a mother into a slow, simmering rage, and it’s because it’s a simple sentence. It’s easy to tell someone that they need to get their child into a routine from an early age. After all, all the parenting books talk about a routine and how to get your children into one and what a routine should entail. The problem with all those books, is that the children haven’t yet learned to read so that they can understand what the expert is telling them to do.
Routine is, yes, a thing that children should try to be slotted into. It’s much easier when the kids know what comes next and they sink into it with ease. The issue comes in when you’re trying to set different routines for differently aged children with different personalities. They all want different colour schemes in their bedrooms. They all want a differently sized cup of water at bedtime. They all have their own ideas about what gets the off to sleep, including the firmness of the bed that they are sleeping on. The teenager in the house may be happy with a firm Purple mattress, because it’s cool not to have back ache. One child may want to sleep on a soft mattress, with an extra-heavy duvet cover and sixty-three pillows alongside their squillion stuffed animals. Another child will want a lighter duvet, no pillows at all and they don’t care about their mattress, because they’re three. And then there’s the night time routines, which will differ for all children and put you into stress over again. There are really very few things that you need to have down solidly for your children, here they are:
- A comfortable bed is an absolute must. Don’t fight the little fights, so if your child feels safer with an army of stuffed animals arranged for battle, let it go.
- A bottle of water by the bed is a must, too. Looking at bottles like this, you can keep them cool all night. There’s nothing worse than waking with a dry mouth; kids get it, too.
- A dark space to sleep is often the preferred way to go to sleep, but a soft night light in the room is also a wonderful comfort for your child. There are so many options, now, for nightlights in various shapes, so let them help you choose one.
- A chance to be tired. You may have had a shocking day for yourself and are excited about time to be an adult, but there’s a thing called a circadian rhythm. This is the hormonal cycle in the body that will tell your child when they’re tired. It’s helpful to set their bedtime to their own internal clock.
Your children are going to be just fine with enough sleep if you relax and go with the flow. Set out the basics and the rest will come.