I heard the other day from Dr. Oz that people who eat the same breakfast every morning are more likely to maintain their ideal weight than people who go scrounging for different things to eat every morning. Since I’m a lover of a wide variety of breakfast foods, I had a hard time swallowing that little fact. Still, I do see the value of building routine into my life.
The very word “routine” sounds boring to many folks. But I’m not advocating turning every moment of your day into routine humdrum. I’m simply suggesting, no, strongly advocating, that small routines sprinkled throughout your day can grant you multiple perks, including the benefit of delightful variety.
Here are just a few of the benefits you could gain from working some routine into your family’s lives. Notice I said, “could.” These are no guarantees, but chances are, with a little persistence, you could really reap some fruit from routine.
- … provides an anchor of security for your children. Things constantly change in a child’s life: their own bodies, the class they’re in at school, what’s expected of them, their abilities. A morning routine and evening routine give children anchors for the changes they experience during their days. And moms, I understand how difficult it is to routinely put your child down for an afternoon nap, read to them each evening, brush their teeth twice a day, or sit them down for a family dinner. But trust me on this one, the results are worth the effort and sacrifice.
- … keeps you healthier. Whether it’s eating the same healthy breakfast every morning, exercising each day, flossing after you brush each evening or going to bed at the same reasonable time every night, healthy routines work well for your body.
- … develops intimacy. Think daily quiet time with the Lord, weekly date night with your husband, Thursday game night with the kids, or Sunday lunches with your folks. My husband and I still remember fondly the first few years of our marriage when we had pizza and watched the Cosby Show every Thursday night. Now we try to go out to breakfast every Saturday morning.
- … reinforces spiritual disciplines. Do your children ask you on Saturdays if your family will attend church on Sunday? Then you haven’t yet made church attendance a routine. As a result your children are learning that going to church is plan B or C or just something to do if we have nothing better on the calendar. Why not start this Sunday to make worship attendance a beneficial routine for your family?
- … makes room for spontaneity. If I routinely put aside a part of my paycheck each week, I have money to treat a friend to lunch on the spur of the moment. If I tidy my kitchen each morning, I can have unexpected guests for coffee with no worries.
- … keeps you emotionally balanced. Especially when something out-of-the-ordinary strikes–a death in the family, a financial crisis, an illness, a job loss, etc.–sticking with a few simple routines such as your daily run, your child’s nap time, or your family’s evening meal time, can really help you keep it together emotionally.
- … helps you succeed in life. Little daily habits beget even more important life disciplines, like paying our bills on time, showing up for work at the right hour, turning in assignments in a timely manner, and consistently keeping your word. These important life skills are crucial for reaching important goals.
- … guarantees a little delight. Not all routines have to be centered around work or healthy habits. You can also build in purely delightful routines. Think afternoon tea with fine china, coffee with your spouse after dinner, a walk with your best friend in the morning, or a weekly visit to the library. Fun routines help keep less than stellar days from feeling unbearable.