A Fresh Start: Spring Cleaning Your Daily Routine for Family Harmony
Let’s do a little spring cleaning of your day. Think of these steps as working toward a goal. Constructing your daily routine will have ripple effects on your children’s well-being and create a more peaceful home. Your children thrive on predictability and anticipated expectations they can meet successfully.

Morning SnugglesMorning Daily Routine:

The goal is to encourage your children to do what is expected without nagging and frustration spiraling into yelling and threatening. Mornings are important connecting times so everyone starts the day off feeling grounded. If your kids are stressed from morning fights, they will be less able to focus and learn at school.

Get up early enough for quiet time to prepare for your day.
If you are waking a child, give it enough snuggle time to wake calmly and gently.
Get older kids using alarm clocks to take responsibility for themselves. If you allow the consequences of sleeping thru an alarm, it will likely not happen again.
Make lists (dry erase boards, etc.) using words or visuals with boxes your kids can check off when done. Include brushing teeth, breakfast, and getting dressed for little ones. Include backpack contents, homework, snack, water bottles, sports equipment whatever is important for that day.

Child Doing HomeworkAfter School/Work Daily Routine:

The goal is to feel good about coming back together into the loving environment of family and comfort.

Do not ask your kids how their day was, what they learned or what they did. Do not ask about tests or what they have for homework. Instead, give hugs and smiles and tell them how happy you are to see them.
Establish ahead what each of your kids likes to do after school (if they’re not headed to an after-school activity) so you all know what to expect. It might be different on different days. If it’s vegging make sure you have worked out how much time is allowed on devices, etc.
Homework is your child’s responsibility. It is not your job. Don’t fix, correct, control or dictate unless asked. Be around for help if needed. When your kids learn you are not going to take responsibility for it, they will take responsibility themselves. Work out when and where for each. Some kids like to be alone and quiet, others in the middle of everything even with music or TV. For more advice on motivating homework self-responsibility, watch my You Tube video: How to Transfer Homework Accountability to Your Child.

Family CookingMealtime Daily Routine:

Dinner time is what I call the “Hearth” of the family—the most important part of the day. The goal is for everyone to look forward to coming together at the table. This means dinnertime must be enjoyable, fun, and connected. The ultimate goal is for your children to establish healthy eating habits.

Eat together as a family as often as possible. After-school activities and work hours often interfere. Don’t let that happen every night. Eating together needs to be a non-negotiable. Don’t get in the habit of feeding kids early and eating with your spouse later.
Mealtime with little kids can be exhausting. Think of it as an investment in future mealtimes. Focus on what will make them want to be there.
Establish who sets the table, who helps with clean up. Maybe one enjoys preparation. Being some small part of the dinner process keeps focus on mealtime.
Prepare one meal for the family. Include something you know your kids will eat.
Serve food in bowls family style so even little kids can help themselves. Give them agency over what they eat but encourage diverse food. (Do not give prepared baby food to your infants. Grind, blend your own. Make sure foods have texture.) Do not talk about food at the table unless as compliments. Do not pressure kids to eat what they don’t want. Children must learn to listen to their own bodies for fullness and hunger.
Play games. Little kids can play I-Spy forever. Make conversation for everyone. Tell stories about your day. What’s happening in the world. This may be the time to find out how the school day was.
Don’t worry about table manners. Your modeling is their best teacher. Do model please and thank you abundantly.
Never use dessert as a reward or punishment. When you do, it increases the value of the dessert and decreases the value of the meal.
Offer a last call for a post dinner snack. Nothing after last call.

Reading at BedtimeBedtime Daily Routine:

The bedtime routine starts after dinner with predictable activities—playtime, homework, media, reading, whatever you choose. Give it a regular, agreed on amount of time.
Call bedtime allowing plenty of time for dawdling, showers, roughhousing, silliness before bed. Give choices about the order of things. Perhaps use another list to check off so you can stay out of it.
Many kids need revving up before they can settle down. (More on this in my article: The Powerful Meaning of Play). This can be a good time for wrestling or jumping on the bed.
Cuddle all you want in bed with your little ones. Then leave them with whatever conditions they want to go to sleep on their own. If this is not happening, sit in a chair until asleep, then move to outside the room for a gradual transition. The earlier this is set in place, the less middle of the night disruptions there will be.
Remember EVERYONE’S need is to sleep through the night.

I know your day gets way more complicated. These guidelines are to keep in mind as goals so that you work toward a mutually satisfying family life.

Related Articles:

Eat Your Peas or No Dessert! Establishing Healthy Eating Habits.

3 Ways to Solve Being Late to School