Guest post by Julie
Hi! I’m Julie from over at Breezy Acres Farm. I am a wife to a graphic designer/photographer husband and mom to two preemies. Ori, age 2, was born at 33 weeks and Calla, age 1, was born at 26 weeks. After teaching middle school English for five years, I am privileged to spend my days at home with my two blessings.
Now that the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over, I am ready to start 2011 with good routines for my children and myself. Trying to locate one of Ori’s shoes as we are heading out the door for a doctor’s appointment isn’t a good use of anyone’s time. But, whose fault is it really? Have I trained Ori where to put his shoes? Do I put my own shoes in their proper place? Routines and organization are essential to any household.
In Noel Piper’s Treasuring God in Our Traditions, she refers to our homes as the places where our children learn how to live in and relate to the world. She explains how it is wiser to get a three-year-old started with good lifetime habits than to spring a new routine on a teenager. When we train our children in good routines and godly patterns, we help prepare them to step responsibly into adulthood.
To help instill a solid routine for my two-year-old, I created a chart with pictures representing each part of our morning routine. This makes it easy for Ori to follow.
Ori wakes up at 7:30. As soon as he moves into his big boy room and bed, he will make his bed at this time. I will make my bed too (which I have never done consistently).
At 7:45, he will change clothes and do his morning chores. Ori’s chore right now is to feed the dogs and cats. To be honest, most days it would be much easier and faster to feed the dogs myself because Ori would rather play. Sometimes he cries when I tell him it’s time to feed the dogs. Sometimes I have to discipline him before he comes to help. However, work is an important part of life and I want him to learn that he has to do his work before he can play. A friend recently shared that it is good to push our childrens’ buttons because it allows us to evaluate their hearts. By asking Ori every morning to help feed the dogs, I am pushing his buttons. He doesn’t want to do it. But if he comes happily to help, I know his heart is in the right place. If he throws a fit and has to be disciplined before he will help, I have work to do.
8 o’clock is breakfast and vitamins. Little Calla wakes up at 8 and is able to join us. We always read a chapter in Proverbs at breakfast. Ori loves it and it is a great way to add tradition to the mundane breakfast eating.
8:30 is free play for Ori while I clean up the kitchen and unload the dishwasher for the day (I always run it at night so that there are no dirty dishes before I go to bed).
9am is something new for 2011: Bible time. After I help him find the right place in his Bible, Ori will spend time alone in his room “reading” (aka listening to a Bible story on audio CD) quietly. I truly hope that this will instill in him a desire to have alone time with God in the morning as he continues to grow up. While he is upstairs in his room for this quarter hour, I will have time to work and play with Calla.
The list continues with snack time and then activity time with Mom (which I try to plan the night before), but those first several things are the daily routines we will be completing each morning.
As 2011 begins, I challenge you to think about the routines and disciplines you want to teach your kids this year. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this topic as well (this is new for me too!).