Children thrive in routine. My kids in particular love knowing what to expect in their days, which I can relate to!
When the quarantine was in place in 2020, my kids craved some routine so I created a quick daily schedule. I soon realized how important it was to have a routine in not just my day, but theirs as well. Even when our days were no more involved than staying at home, they loved knowing what to expect and what to anticipate.
As we transitioned out of quarantine I decided to go ahead and keep the kids’ routine and chore charts and to this day it has helped make our days run more smoothly.
Morning Routine for Kids
Mornings always have so much possibility but with little kids, they can dissolve into chaos pretty quickly. Making sure to include morning to-dos for my big kids meant I wasn’t having to chase them around the house to get going for the day.
Each school day I wake my kids between 7:30 and 8:00 A.M. These rules are a bit more flexible when we are on a school break but otherwise we stick to this time frame to make sure we allow enough time in our day to get things accomplished.
Once they wake up, my big kids know they need to dress for the day, make their beds, brush their teeth and hair, and tidy up their bedclothes.
There is some flexibility in the order in which these items are accomplished. For instance, Ellery takes more time to get moving in the morning so she usually has breakfast first then heads upstairs to finish up her morning routine. Whereas Asher is an early bird and when he wakes up he hits the ground running. Most days his morning routine is finished before he makes it to the breakfast table.
The important factor here is that each kid is asked to complete all of their morning routine before we begin the next aspect of the day. For summer days this means no playtime or screen time until they are finished. On school days this means they need to have this finished before 8:30 when our school day starts.
Giving my children these tasks helps them to learn responsibility for their own self. They begin to see the importance of prepping for the day and putting a prepared foot forward.
Afternoon Routine for Kids
We do have degrees of routine throughout the remainder of our day but I allow for greater degrees of flexibility because our days vary so much from one another. Here is a look at our “daily routine” throughout the week:
Monday-Friday: School lessons, playtime, afternoon rest, prep for the evening
Saturdays: WHO KNOWS?! These days are open to any sort of errand, fun family time, trips, or whatever
Sundays: Church followed by family time.
Every day will have lunch but where and exactly what time depends on what our day entails.
So to keep things simple, if we are home I just ask that they help to reset our home before we settle down for rest time. Rest time in the afternoon is usually 1 hour of screen time so they are pretty motivated to tidy up.
Evening Routine for Kids
As the evening comes around, the kids are usually playing while I make dinner but once dinner is over their evening routine/to-dos are implemented. They are asked to help tidy up after dinner, pick up their spaces from the day, and get ready for bed.
Does it Work?
You might be asking yourself if this actually works and my answer is yes, eventually. We started this process last year and rarely do I have to remind them what to do for the morning or at night. Occasionally I will have to encourage Ellery simply because she could live in her PJs all day if we’d allow it.
Overall, the kids learn to thrive in this routine. They know what to expect and what is expected of them. When they take charge of getting their tasks completed they begin to have pride in their work and it takes the load off of my lap to get everything done.
It has been a great help to simply say “Kids please get ready for the day” and then they get dressed, make their beds, tidy their clothes up, and brush their teeth.
Not only does it work to help them learn but it eases my workload as well.
Routine for Kids not Rigidity
Now before you think we are a pressed-seams-all-the-time sort of family, let me assure you we are not. Having routines in place does not mean your life is a rigidly timed schedule. Instead, routines give structure to your day but there is still flexibility and room to breathe.
Related: Fun Activities to do with Kids
For example, we aren’t always strict about getting ready in the morning. Saturday mornings the kids are allowed “Saturday morning cartoons” which is 2-3 hours of uninterrupted cartoons (because mama needs time to get work done too). This is something they look forward to every week and most of the time they are sitting in their PJs with full-on morning breath for that whole time! They complete their morning routines after morning cartoons and before we leave for any errands.
So when you are creating your children’s daily routines, consider the routines as a framework for your day. As time passes, your children will learn the difference between days that require urgency and those that don’t. Some days will require getting their morning routines finished in a timely manner while others give us more time to get tasks finished.
When creating a daily routine for your kids consider what goals you are trying to achieve. Here is a look at what my goals were:
- Teach the kids responsibility
- Help them to learn how to care for their spaces and their bodies
- Ease my load and burden. No longer needing to micromanage them getting ready every morning
The goals will vary from family to family. Use these goals to structure what is included in your child’s daily routine.
Please do not create extra stress or anxiety for yourself trying to schedule out every minute of their days. Give yourself and them grace by allowing for a bit of flexibility.
Included on the chart are seven spaces for Allowance chores. In our home, our kids are expected to handle their daily routine and keep their spaces tidy without reward. We want to encourage them to have ownership and responsibility for their spaces and bodies.
But we also want them to learn the value of hard work and money. So we created 7 age-appropriate chores for them to complete each week in order to earn their allowances. These tasks will change as they age but for now, this is what works for us.
Daily Routine Charts for Kids
Here is a look at the charts I created for my oldest two. If you would like a blank copy to try out for your kiddo(s), simply sign up below to get access to my printable vault. (Once you subscribe you will gain access to my vault where you can download this printable and so much more!)
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