A new month equates to a new #UKVSFocus series. This time, our focus will be on routines: how they shape us and how we adapt to changes.
A routine is everything that happens from the moment you open your eyes to the time that you close them at the end of a long day. Breakfast (or brunch, for some) in mornings, brewing coffee before driving off to work, taking dogs out for a walk, doing groceries, watching the television, paying bills – all of these are part of your routine. Have you ever thought about the way your own routines work? Easing into routines puts families in a blanket. It gives you a sense of safety and a feeling of comfort. It puts us in a secured bubble – with systems and structures in place that all work together to help us move forward.
They say change is inevitable. While that may be true, it is still completely valid to be afraid of changes. Without the right structures in place, a sudden shift in routines can be stressful. Over the past months, everyone has had their usual routines disrupted by the pandemic. It caused lots of anxiety in adults and, most especially, children. Think about it and look back. What did your typical day look like pre-pandemic? How much has changed since then? We are used to making routines a safety net that we almost forget how adaptable humans can be. Embracing changes with the right mindset can lead to good outcomes. As the infamous saying goes, it’s all about looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel.
Routines are highly essential to children.
Routines provide a sense of safety and security. It puts children at ease inside their very own comfort zones. Being in a bubble where they feel comfortable enough can initiate a motivating experience. One good thing about starting them early on is their innate curiosity that just never stops. An unhealthy amount of inconsistency in routines may lead to self-doubt and loss of confidence – this is what we are highly avoiding.
Routines enforce discipline. The often-quoted words of Spiderman “With great power comes great responsibility” is actually on-point here. Routines can impose a good sense of responsibility and leadership, but only if one can take ownership of their actions. Demonstrate the importance of accountability to your children. Instead of calling them out for missteps, try to make them see positive outcomes as consequences of their actions. What’s next on my schedule? What will I do differently tomorrow to make this part of my routine better?
Routines put structures in place. Routines are designed to be cyclical, but they are not meant to be literally repetitive. It doesn’t mean that your child has to do the very same thing in the very same corner the next day. It simply means that you’re placing them in the right rhythm towards a concrete path.
Most families have a set routine in place, but our routines should adapt to constantly changing circumstances. A healthy routine is relevant to our current place in life. Try to keep a record of your time for an entire week. Make a note of what you are doing every single minute. This process will make you very conscious of your cycle. Eventually, you’ll come to realise that: you check your phone every 5 minutes, you aren’t being productive at work by procrastinating, and quality time with your family may have reduced. Routines aren’t meant to be perfected. Otherwise, we might as well call ourselves robotic machines. Our routines need evolving. We can ace through a day and accomplish many tasks, but are we being efficient? Are we being too hard on ourselves? Are we being fair with our time?
With all these things to reflect on, have you realised the impact routines can make? Don’t be afraid of exploring. Start from small adjustments: adapt to changes, be in control, and live in the moment. Stress can be overwhelming and our brains can only handle short bursts. Take a breather when you need to. Focus on one thing at a time. Eventually, the right routines for your family will be in place.
Keep track of your routines and plan ahead. Download and print our custom Routines time table:
Feeling inspired yet? To wrap up this series, watch our inspiring video about routines below.