Kids need a rhythm of life. So do I. Predictability is generally a good thing in family life. It creates a sound foundation, and a secure basis on which children can grow. A few examples from my own childhood and some of my friends.
- Sister Maura Therese’s mom used to get them up in the morning with a song. The same song each morning, a cheerful song that greeted them each morning and starts the day off with a pleasant tone, even if you didn’t want to get up, you did, mom’s song helped, even when we groaned.
- Rise, eat the flakes, brush the teeth, and hair (different brushes are recommended), get dressed and away we go…change the order if you want, but help the kids start the day the same way each morning . Benchmarks of time along the way can help avoid the last minute rush when school is on.
- Time for bed? If I had kids and they had their pajamas on when the Church bells tolled at 8:00 they would get some big reinforce. When kids can gradually take responsibility for their routine, that’s even better! Some are so ready to do so, others take a little more time.
- Keep a similar routine at bedtime: shower, snack, drink, teeth, prayers, story, cuddle time, bless them (sign of cross on the forehead and a kiss) and tuck them in.
- Some very wise parents were known to call the time just after bed time (mom and dad time). Kids need to know mom and dad need time together to talk and be. It also takes the zip out of the …… I need a drink game. Nope, this is mom and dad’s time alone, you have to be in bed.
- Sister Mary Catherine’s brother has several kids. Kids are told, if you need something you can come to the threshold of mom and dad’s room, make some noise and we will come help you, but you can’t come in…..boundaries. They found the three year old sleeping at the threshold in the morning. He didn’t make noise when he came, just wanted to make sure they were there, laid down at the line and went back to sleep.
In the summer the routine may be a good bit later, but keeping a routine is good for kids. I remember when it was still light out and having to go to bed as a kid. It seemed a bit odd sometimes, but we do what we need to as kids, and doing it regularly is wise.
God bless you and your summer.