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4 Benefits of Having Routines (Even for Free-Spirits)

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Before I create a how-to blog on routines, I believe some of us need convincing of why we should have routines in the first place. Some of us would die on the hill of spontaneity if we could. Say you have a gypsy soul or whatever you would like. You're free and routines feel like a cage, a weight, or a burden.

However, I do not believe one has to exist without the other.

I actually believe there are HUGE benefits to having routines, and I am hoping I can convince some of you with the greatest disinterest.

1. Knowing when you do something helps you know when you don't do something.

That may sound weird or confusing but here is what I essentially mean, when you do not have well-defined routines of when something gets done, then everything competes for your free time and priority.

Basically when you are left with a free second in your day, your whole entire to-do list is asking to be prioritized. You have to use unnecessary decision making power to sort through every task that needs completed and it eats away at every free moment.

When I know that I clean my bathroom Mirrors/Sinks on Monday, Toilets on Tuesday, Walls on Wednesday, Tub on Thursday, and Floors on Friday (do you see what I did there?) then I know if I have a break at 2PM on Wednesday, I am not trying to tack on a ton of work.

It is actually a gift. Knowing when things get done has actually allowed me to take breaks and rest. Because I know break time is not clean time.

This does not only apply to cleaning, but its one example. All I know is work-time has a funny way of sneaking into free-time if it is not well contained.

2. Routines help others know what to expect of you and what you expect of them without it always being said.

When you have routines, you don't have to always ask one another when things will be done. Personally, I know my husband will do dishes every night (God bless him). He knows I will give the baths each night. Routines help you share what many call the "invisible load" of parenthood.

However, this is not only for the parents and it does not only apply to work. Our children know what we expect of them and they know what they can trust us to do and when. My kids (so far) never ask to watch cartoons. Partially because one of them can't talk, but that's beside the point. They don't likely, because we watch cartoons at the same time every day. My daughter knows when I will ask her to clean. Routines sew expectations right into the fabric of family life and it's nice to not have to be figuring it out all the time.

Plus, I believe they help kids work with you instead of against you.

3. Routines emphasize what you value.

"Meaning hides in repetition: We do this every day or every week because it matters." Kim John Payne

When we do something regularly, it leaves an impression. It weaves into the fabric of who we are. It writes our family values right on our heart. Values internalize in the doing over and over again in the small moments.

Oftentimes we don't have huge moments of courage, authenticity, or respect, but rather small and regular.

At times I like to ponder how I want my kids to think of me when they are older, and I try to choose routine phrases and actions to remember just that.

If I want them to believe I am respectful, I routinely speak to them at eye level. If I want them to believe I am gracious, I tell them, "It's okay, no one is perfect." If I want them to think of me as a reader, then I read to them and in front of them.

I also want to relieve the pressure that you have to do this every day to make it routine. Know you don't have to do something everyday.... just most days. Your kids will consider you as a parent who reads to them even if you do it five of the seven days a week.

4. Routines provide a sense of rhythm.

If you forfeit routines too much, you lose your sense of rhythm. Rather than life feeling like a beautiful dance, it feels jumbled.

Rhythm gives your day a flow. I personally feel that a strong sense of rhythm helps anchor young children in their day as well. Prior to being able to tell time, they still know where they are in the day when your day has predictability.

Kim John Payne says it like this, "For parents, the advantages of rhythm are equally pronounced. Rhythm carves the necessary channels for discipline, making it more intrinsic than imposed. Where well-established rhythms exist, there is much less parental verbiage, less effort, and fewer problems around transitions. Parents also suffer the effects of a chaotic, arrhythmic life. When life is a series of improvisations and emergencies, each day different from the next, children don't know whether they are coming or going. As parents at least you know."

I believe routines are powerful. Even more so as your life takes on added responsibilities such as kids. It truly simplifies your life, leaving you more available to what really matters. I hope if you already have a good sense of routine, then you are encouraged. If you don't, I hope you are encouraged to try one out.

If you would like to continue this discussion, I would love you to join my Facebook Group. Hope you are blessed friends.


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