With my third baby in four years on the way I have had quite a few people tell me that any routine I may have now will go out of the window when baby arrives, the older kids will get out of control and I will be more tired than ever before.
Sometimes these comments annoy me but mostly they make me laugh. You see I am known as the ‘Queen of Routine’.
For me having a routine in place from very early on in my kid’s lives has helped keep our lives running smoothly. Yes there have been bumps along the way but in general we lead happy healthy lives.
I found having a consistent routine for my children provides them with a sense of safety and security, because they always know what they are doing.
The same routine which can get boring for adults is actually quite exciting for kids because they like knowing they are in charge of certain things like putting dinner dishes in the kitchen and getting ready for a bath, helping brush their teeth and picking a story book, so in doing simple tasks like these it is helping to create confidence and independence.
A typical day in my household starts around 6.30am, they play in their bedrooms together until I wake up at 7am.
We then have breakfast, pick out clothes, get dressed, brush our teeth, and grab our morning tea which I try and prepare the night before and head out the door by 8am.
It’s the same thing every day so we have become fast and efficient. Most days the kids have had lunch and are in bed for their afternoon sleeps by 12.30pm.
I usually have a cuppa, relax and make afternoon tea for the kids for when they wake up anywhere between 1.30 – 2.30.
There are days when they aren’t tired and don’t sleep but they go into their rooms and play quietly after such a busy morning, it’s good grounding time that I know is good for my kids.
They play or do arts and crafts all afternoon and we all sit down to dinner together at 5pm, then it’s bath at 5.30pm a story or two, kisses, cuddles and lots of I love you’s to each other and in bed by 6pm.
Since they can’t read yet they look through storybooks most nights with their little torches and are usually asleep by 7pm.
Sleep is very important for my kids as they are both high sleep needs children. When they haven’t had enough sleep they tend to become frustrated, upset, angry and easily distracted.
I’ve learned to see the signs and when I see them and I react very quickly.
I might give them a quiet afternoon or put them to bed earlier or lie with them if they are overtired and worked up and can’t settle themselves.
I see so many kids with these signs and hear the parents complain about how bad their kids are behaving when all they really need are a few good nights of sleep.
As I mentioned before, there are times when one or both of my kids won’t sleep in the afternoon and again I watch for the signs because usually it only lasts a couple of days until they are back in their usual routine.
I see some parents let their kids stop cold turkey and start to plan longer outings or more activities.
I’m only an expert with my own kids and no one else’s, but I feel it is really important to wean them gradually no matter what age they are.
Sleep is so important for everyone, especially young children. Sleep affects learning, physical, emotional and mental health.
Believe me when I tell you I need my full eight hours otherwise I find it hard to function.
A consistent and quality sleep routine for our kids means they are ready to take on bigger challenges every day.
People often ask me if I miss out on a lot of social activity with friends because of my routine and I tell them that on occasion I do but the health and wellbeing of my family comes first.
Every now and the a friend will baby sit so my husband and I can go out for an evening or my husband watches the kids so I can spend time with my friends and vice versa but at the end of the day my husband and I chose to have children and we want to do what is best for them.
There is nothing quite like a happy, healthy and harmonious family.
Words Amardy Baucke
Originally published in Coast Kids