By Joanna Sheppard
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” — Hebrews 13:8
Aren’t you glad He is unchanging? This time of so many unknowns makes me especially thankful to serve a God who does not change. He has created our universe to have order, schedule, and consistency, and knowing these things helps us anticipate what comes next and impart a sense of peace and well-being to our households. As parents, we are tasked to create an orderly environment for our children at home. This is no easy feat and requires preparation, prayer, creativity, and lots of flexibility. Here are some thoughts I’m processing as we give our weekday routines a tune up:
Think and pray about the unique personalities, needs, and responsibilities of your family.
No two routines will look alike. Each family includes unique personalities, needs, and responsibilities. As you begin putting together a routine, think about the greatest needs your family is currently facing. Talk to your spouse and pray about solutions that would move you closer to where you want to be. A few questions to ask yourself as you consider structure for your day are:
- Do you have a nest full of night owls or early risers? What will be your family sleep schedule?
- How much structure do your kids need to feel safe and cared for? This is a trying time for adults and kids alike to process their emotions. Finding a way to talk about what each family member is feeling and keeping familiar habits and patterns in place provides safe space for the whole family.
- What are the responsibilities that need to be finished today? Are you getting the schoolwork and housework done in the ways you want to? Once it is determined what needs to be done, then it can be incorporated into a routine. However, with routine, comes a measure of grace as everyone figures out the new rhythm or changes that need to be made to get things done.
- Last but certainly not least, make sure to discuss your main priorities with your husband and ask what his needs are as well. Talk about what areas of your weekly schedules you each could oversee and what areas feel important to do together. Your routine should be a partnership, so you can lead your family in a united effort.
Reevaluate current routines and make constructive changes.
Right now our family is struggling with consistent bed and wake times. My husband and I plan to start putting kids to bed earlier, so we can enjoy some downtime in the evenings and be refreshed for the next day’s work. But it is not working as we had hoped. As you establish routines for your family with things such as school and bedtime, don’t expect it to work the first try. Changes and adjustments will need to be made, so don’t be afraid to creatively brainstorm with your spouse and kids to come up with a new family plan to work on a specific area in your home like we are with sleep.
Make your schedule and routines feasible and fun instead of forcing your family into someone else’s “perfect” plan.
A plethora of sample schedules, routines, chore charts, and fun activities can be found on the internet. These can be a huge help and encouragement, but make sure to adapt the expectations according to the ages and personalities of your own family.
Great ideas abound for your routine. One of my friends has been doing “Fancy Friday” with her family. They all get dressed up, set the table in a special way, and have a “fancy” dinner. This is a great example of something many families might enjoy but would probably become a burden instead of a blessing at my house. Instead, we might enjoy a game of Scrabble or having a PJ and popcorn movie night. Whatever you put into your schedule, make sure to plan time for fun, too, as enjoying time together strengthens the family.
Another fun idea that I’ve seen in years past as I have searched for summer schedule tips is assigning a theme for each day of the week. This could be menu related such as “Meatless Monday” and the famous “Taco Tuesday,” or in some other way that sounds fun to your family. “Make something Monday” could have a recycled art focus. Wednesday could be to “Write Someone,” or wear “Wacky” outfits. You get the idea. Be creative if this idea sounds fun, and pick names for your weekdays that are realistic for you to maintain. But also add some fun pizazz while adding consistency.
You know your crew the best. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith, our lives, and if we let Him, our schedules, too. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn the ways of consistency in your weekly schedule that can bring out the best in you and yours.
Psalms 127:1 reminds us that, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” As you and your husband prayerfully plan your schedules this week, may you build a household of grace that serves the Lord.
What’s helping you stay consistent during the week? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments, another great way we can stay connected with each other!