Rhythms and routines are super helpful when it comes to raising kids. In our home I have found that my kids thrive on structure throughout their day. Here are a few of my favorite ways to create simplicity and structure in our home.
Toy rotation is one of my favorite ways to keep things simple. We have a few baskets of toys that we rotate through in the kid’s rooms. There is a closet in the boy’s room that keeps the larger toys and toys with lots of pieces (hot wheel tracks, fort building poles, etc.) locked up. One really great thing about this is that when we pull out toys from the closet it keeps them entertained longer since the toys feel new and exciting. Having less toys also means less mess and it's really easy to clean up when we're done playing with them. We also try to keep things like puzzles and legos set aside for special times since they also take quite some time to clean up. We have elected Fridays as our Lego days and the boys look forward to it every week.
Morning Routine and Evening Routine
Setting up routines each morning and evening help me tremendously and I would like to think that it helps the kids as well. My kids have become creatures of habit when bedtime rolls around. They know exactly what they need to do before lights go out each night and they know what they need to do before we get in the car each morning for school. Routine charts can be super helpful when it comes to visualizing what needs to be done (you can grab one at the Hello Jude Store HERE).
This one has made a world of difference for our family. Back in August of 2020 we got rid of our TV. This decision was made after noticing our two boys were becoming addicted to screens (in the mean sorta way). We first started with a one month fast from television and then decided to implement weekly Friday night movie nights as a family. It has made the world of difference in our home to simplify one little aspect of our lives. While now we do allow for a little more tv time, (especially when I am working) we have a timer that we set. Boundaries such as how long they can watch and what they can watch on the laptop are very important.
This is a new one that I am trying out in our home. If you are anything like me, the majority of your day is spent preparing meals, opening gummy wrappers, and cleaning up messes from snack time. Now each morning the kids get to pick 4 snacks for the day. Those snacks are then put in their snack basket and they have access to them throughout the day with the understanding that once the basket is empty they cannot grab anymore snacks from the pantry. I have even heard of moms who have snack timers on their phone for their kids who constantly ask when they can eat a snack and to regulate them between meals.. GENIUS!
Cleanup time/Proper place
Since our boys have gotten a little older (6 and 4) we have started to include them in the responsibility to tidy up. Each night after dinner we as a family work together to clean up the dining room, kitchen, and living room. Most often we put on a fun dance playlist and work as a team to set things in order. We have baskets that we dump any odd items in and then make sure they go to their proper place before bedtime. This routine helps me feel a little more grounded and ready for bed. As a bonus, I wake up to a semi-clean home each morning.
Preparing for the day ahead
Lastly but most importantly, in my opinion, is preparing for the day ahead. We have a set routine for the morning and I try to do as much as possible the night before so that we're not rushed in the morning. This helps eliminate stress and it makes our mornings more efficient. Things like setting out clothes for the next day, packing backpacks and lunch boxes, and filling up our water bottles help make sure that our mornings run smoother.
Simplicity, routine, and structure are incredibly helpful when raising kids, especially when you have a whole litter like me. I have found that creating small systems enable my kids to make space for creativity and fun and allows me to have the structure I so desperately need in our home.