I’m sure you are all to familiar with the after work crankiness that happens when everyone has come home from a long day, and no one wants to do anything but veg out! Having a consistent evening routine is one of the best ways to have a calmer, more predictable household, and positive bedtime for your little ones. As moms, we create the building blocks that shape a home. If your foundation is not strong, the home will not be strong.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:25
My Experience With Evenings
3 Steps To Get You Started
Set Your Expectations
Start your expectation for the evening, in the morning. Read about our morning routine here for an example. With an early start to your day, you will be more prepared for your entire families day. You can take a look at your calendar and see what events or appointments are coming up. This also allows you to make time for everything in your week!
Write A To-Do List
Write a quick list of things that need to be done and assign them to a family member. Let each member know there is a task that you need their help with and that it is a very important part of the day. Create some incentive for everyone to help out, like time to watch a movie or play a game at the end of the week! Your list could include items like this;
- Unloading the dishwasher so you can come home and have a clean kitchen to begin dinner.
- Take out the garbage
- Clear table of homework and papers so the family has a place to eat dinner together or play a game.
- Turn off the crock pot, or preheat the oven
- set out meal prep
You’re getting the idea right? When kids arrive home, have them get started on school work and let them know that their tasks need to be accomplished by dinnertime. This way everyone can be finishing up and take a break to have a family meal together.
Each night in our home, someone does the dishes, and the rest of us do a 10-minute tidy up around the house. This is a good time to prep lunches and the coffee for the next morning. If you have a few extra minutes you can start a load of laundry, or fold one that is finished. Once the last few tasks are completed, sit down and relax!
3 More Reasons Consistency Is So Important For Your Family
- Everyone knows that SOMETHING is expected of them. With a To-Do List, my kids know I’m going to have them either help with dinner prep or clean up every day so I don’t get argued with. (as much haha) Children also need practice with learning these time management skills called executive functions. (The part of the brain that helps them plan, start, and complete a task, using step by step processing)
- Homework has an allotted time and place each day. After school is ideal unless its something they need help with. If your kiddo’s need a break from learning then changing the routine might be a thought. My son is allowed to do his reading time either while I cook or right before bed. This allows me to come home and jump into dinner.
- You can read more about The 10-Minute Tidy-Up Here. Adding this to your evening routine keeps the house straightened until the deep clean day. This is also a great time for your children to prep backpacks for the next day, put shoes and coat in a strategic spot by the front door. Working together as a family will also teach your children the value of a clean well managed home.
Our Screen Time Policy
There are expectations and parental controls for screen time. My son, who is 8 and a has ADHD, has a very hard time with excessive screen use if he is not monitored closely. This has been an ongoing challenge for us as it wreaks havoc for him going to sleep and having a successful day at school. Screen time in our home is very limited on school nights for this reason. From time to time, we try and introduce some tablet time to work as an incentive or reward for hard work. I know the effects it has, so it is a great tool to use sometimes! My older two don’t have such monitors, but they know the best times for them is when their brother is preoccupied. They usually respect that. Whatever the level of control needs to be, set it and stick with it.
Consistency Is Key
You gotta stick with it to form a habit and commit to your plan for 1 month! Start small and don’t give up! We do this because we love our kids and because we want our home to be a positive, joyful place that is comfortable for everyone. A consistent evening routine will help cultivate that for your family.
The Goal Each Day
By the end of the day, our hope is to have had a positive family meal time at home, take care of the daily tasks that need to be done, and also be prepared for the next day. I want my home to be a peaceful place for my husband and my kids! Sounds pretty simple right? It’s not something that can happen if only mom or dad is working on all the tasks, it takes everyone working as a team, and usually mom fueling the fires of change! But when there is a good evening routing, everyone can usually get what they expect for the week-nights. Reflect on the Changes.
Reflect On The Changes
Setting up and maintaining a consistent morning routine is crucial to a joy-filled home. Start small and work on one area at a time! Believe me, it will get better and easier if you keep at it! I’m no expert on parenting, but I know a little encouragement, positive feedback, and small rewards go a long way when us moms are trying to get something new accomplished. Take a few minutes at the end of the day and each week, to evaluate how it,s going. Ask your children and your husband about the routine. Find out what the positives are. Do you need to make any changes to what’s expected or which member does each task? Tweak it as you go!
A small change is still a step in a better direction. One, two, then three. Pretty soon you’ll look back at where you were and see that you’re in a different place!