I wrote about our morning routine. On to evening routines!
This is a little more difficult for me. Any mother of young kids will tell you that the evening routine takes A LOT of time. Mine starts about 5 pm, as I’m starting to pull dinner together and the kids come into what we call the “kvetching hour.” (I’ve heard about the “witching” hour, too – same idea).
Everyone is getting tired and a little kvetchy, and starting to get hungry, and they know that dinner + bath + stories = bed, which no kid wants. Add it all together and you get the kvetching hour! It’s not bad many day, but some days…
But having a routine can help you cut this down (notice I didn’t say eliminate it. I even get a little kvetchy by the end of the day, so I think it’s part of our internal daily cycle!) If you aren’t waiting until the kids a fussing and STARVING to feed them, or keeping them up until midnight, and if they know what to expect, it eases things for them AND you. Or me, at least. I know the end is in sight despite the grumps. 😉
So, routine. Routines tell everyone what is coming and help them get ready. It varies by the family, but here is our general evening routine.
- Dinner (pre-planned most of the time!)
- Kids clean up chore (load dishwasher, sweep, wipe, etc)
- Bath / wash up (why we don’t bathe the kids every day)
- PJs / dirty clothes into the washer (yep, we’ve got a family closet!)
- Stories / video
- Shema and snuggling
Then, once they are done (or if daddy’s taking over at bedtime!), I have my own chore list. I do better if I get these things done – and you know what they say: Tomorrow morning starts tonight
- Finish sweeping / wiping / cleaning kitchen, and run dishwasher if needed
- Defrost anything needed for tomorrow’s meals (pack lunches?)
- Lay out schoolwork for tomorrow
- Fold any laundry that didn’t get folded that day
- Check list for today / tomorrow and do anything I can
It just takes a few minutes, but everything flows much more smoothly when we follow it. The kids can have a checklist (words or pictures) to follow on their own, or it can just be the usual routine. I have a checklist, but I don’t refer to it very often because all of those things are habit to me now.
A quick search will give you a bunch of choices to follow, depending on what works for you. Here is one that I found and like – it’s a Jewish take on morning and evening routines with pictures! We have also taken picture of our kids doing various things on their list, cut them out, laminated them, and stuck velcro on the back. Then, as the kids do them, they take the right pictures and put them on the “finished” sheet. Again, whatever works for you!
With bedtimes sliding later than the school year, it’s important to note that the specific TIME isn’t as important as the SEQUENCE. So you can be flexible, and adjust it to meet your family’s needs. But a routine is a blessing for every family!