Children love routines. When my children were young, we had our normal routines that we followed during the week. Our routine could look like this:
Grocery shopping days
We planned our grocery shopping day once a week. We started by checking what we need and wrote up a shopping list of what we needed. Then we headed off to the shops to fill our baskets based on their shopping list, and treated ourselves at the end of the shopping trip before heading home for lunch and a nap.
We visited 1-2 libraries each week to listen to stories and borrowed books and audio recordings. My children each had their own library card and they would select a few items each from the library every week. Once we have finished with the story session, we headed out for lunch – our favourite would be the eat in at Pizza Hut or we would take away a pizza from the local shop and head off to the local park for lunch, before heading back for their naps.
Bush walking day
Once a week, we did a mini bush walk to one of the local bays and to feed the ducks. It would be a 1-2 hour walk and full of running, playing with the swings or slides and feeding the ducks (with left-over bread). We would normally try to invite a few friends along also for duck feeding and enjoy picnic lunches at the same time.
Once a week we would visit our local playgroup to meet up with other families. It was also a time to learn to interact and play with other children. for me it was also a good opportunity to catch up with few of the local parents.
There would be a day where we did not leave the house, and just did whatever we felt like, i.e. movie day, sing along, cake making or friends visiting. This was a day where we headed outside to ride their bikes in the yard, or they joined me doing the housework. Or we would plant vegetables in our mini vegetable patch outside.
On the weekend we had a family day out. If dad was home, we would visit the city by train. We often spent the morning at Darling Harbour and enjoyed lunch in one of the eateries.
These were our normal routines and my children sort of knew what to expect when we visited the library for instance. If I needed to go somewhere else instead, I would talk with them before leaving home, so that they knew what to expect.
Children like routines; it gives them a sense of safety as they know what is happening and what to expect. For example, when we normally had take-away pizza after the library, we would go to a similar local park that they knew for lunch – so they knew what to expect and what to do once they arrive at the park, how long we would normally stay there, and what to do after the park etc. It empowers them with a sense of control and mastery on how to handle their expectations and surroundings.
When your child/children can handle the day-to-day routine with predictability, they will be able to handle more structured changes as they grow older. They then take charge instead of being told, i.e. they know they will be able to borrow books and audios during story time at the libraries, thus they will remember to bring back the ones borrowed the week before to return and exchange them for new ones.
What's your weekly routine like with your children?