My Cutie Pie has always been a creature of routine. Now that he’s in school the routine has changed but it’s still there. I like to think of it more as a rhythm, because it’s just the pace we go through the day. It is not necessarily a routine, because sometimes we do switch things around.
Why a Daily rhythm?
My boys seems less on edge when they have this basic idea of what is going to happen throughout the day. Now that they are both in school it is pretty simple, but when they were with me all the time, or at least most of the time, they did better having an idea of what to expect. On weekends our daily rhythm helps so much to keep our boys ‘in the know’ and therefore much less anxious.
What does it look like?
I conveyed this daily rhythm to everyone in a very visual way when they were younger, although we still use the same basic method now. Its in the form of a week routine chart.
Here is what our weekly routine board looks like now:
You can see it is centered around our three basic meals, which also happen to occur around the same time each day. These are constants in our lives, something our boys can depend on, so it made sense to use these as our anchors.
How does it work for us?
There is little time before breakfast, because that is usually only a few minutes of free play time and we don’t ever seem to have anything to do before breakfast anyway other than our normal showering, etc. The spaces before and after lunch and after dinner are when we are most active.
Right now our daily rhythm chart is a dry erase board hanging on the side of our refrigerator which is a space everyone walks by and is very easy to see. I write in our activities in dry erase marker at the beginning of each week. Very simple, but so effective!
When the boys were younger and couldn’t read I used the small magnets Hubby drew on indicating the activity. For example, he drew a swing set for days we’d visit the park. I would sometimes just string them together if we had several activities one right after the other, rather than just doing one thing in the morning and one thing in the afternoon. The boys seemed much more able to switch from activity to activity having been prepared. When they were younger I would actually show them our daily rhythm chart in the morning. Now they just make it part of their morning routine.
Using a very basic method similar to this when they were babies also helped me know whether they were hungry, overstimulated or just tired. I will post more about that tomorrow!