Routine is the foundation upon which you can direct your family’s chaotic energy into a safe direction. Having an established routine allows your children to go through the necessary motions of their day without worrying about what’s next. Some of the common hurdles are inconsistent nap times and unexpected activities. Of course, these are all more pronounced when you have more than one child. Fortunately, there are tricks to handle even the most frustrating situations.
Quiet time is a great way to handle nap time, especially for your children who no longer take naps. Set aside a two-hour window and enforce quiet activities for all of your children. You get less noise, your napping child gets to rest, and your remaining children get time to do quiet activities like coloring or homework. All of your children may not agree, but everyone wins.
Unfortunately, unexpected activities aren’t as easy. We do try to find someone to leave our son with when we need to take care of something during his nap time. Most of the time one of us can take care of whatever needs to be done and the other partner stays at home. Sometimes it’s not possible to avoid breaking your child’s routine. When that happens, do your best to accept it and not stress over the situation. Agonizing over how frustrating it is your child will miss their nap, lunch at home, etc. will only make your day more difficult.
Many families base their routines firmly around a time of day. That habit is helpful to some and cumbersome to others. If you feel the need to remove time from the equation, don’t hesitate to do so. A good series of routines will establish their own timeline. It’s neat, almost like magic. Also, younger kids can’t tell time. Their understanding of events is more of a flow chart than a calendar. If your child is used to napping after lunch, minor variations in lunch time (30 minutes or less) aren’t going to change your child’s desire to nap afterward.
Try a routine out. Even if it’s more of a sequence of events than a time-driven and documented plan, it’ll still reduce your family’s stress level. If you need to take a detour one day, just go ahead and don’t worry. You’ll get back to the routine tomorrow and your children won’t forget their normal schedule in a day. I hope this helps!