Sound familiar? We all get trapped in routines. Sometimes theyre great they keep us focused and on track and offer a sense of stability to children and families. But sometimes they get a little stale. And they can certainly take the fun out of everyday life. When you look back at your childhood, what are the things you remember? The routine? Or the fun, random, silly things your parents did and said? It doesnt have to be some grand gesture; it can be as easy as just being goofy every now and then. I can still remember asking whats for dinner? and my mom answering with snake eyes! So silly and inconsequential, but a funny memory some 30 years later.
Im definitely not saying a routine isnt important, it is, but some of these are things that can actually be worked into your routine! Do you have dinner together nightly? We used to go around the table and talk about our days. It became a tradition to do my day last, because I took the longest. We also had a fun, very goofy ritual of turning out the lights on whoever was the last person eating. And, in full disclosure, that was also usually me. My dad travelled every now and then for work. It was always a fun night where we had breakfast for dinner or we were allowed to eat in front of the TV. My friend Lisas family had picnics in the living room in the middle of winter theyd lay out a sheet and set up an entire picnic. Often, meals are the one thing we do together every day so many of our memories are tied into that. We are also in the car together most days. Mix it up by playing fun music and singing along. Play silly games on the way to school like spotting what was different from yesterdays ride to school.
Celebrate the little things. I can remember thinking cake was only for birthdays when I was young. Celebrate an A on a test or the first day of autumn or finals week! Actually, why not have cake for no reason at all? March 2nd is Dr. Seuss birthday a perfect day to pull out your favorite Seuss books and read them together instead of having screen time. Do something fun for Chinese New Year (make fortune cookies!) or Cinco de Mayo (learn a few great Spanish sayings) or Earth Day (plant some flowers together). Remember these are the things they will never forget. When I asked my brother and sister, we all remembered the same goofy things so that should tell you something!
Life is busy and can be hard. And routines certainly make it easier but they also make it, well, routine. Remember to insert fun into yours!
Wake up with a silly song, make breakfast, make lunch (include a note!), get everyone out the door. Pick kids up, (insert fun here), do homework, make dinner (pancakes anyone?), get everyone to bed, laugh. REPEAT.