Building Routines


Oh, I'm not telling you how, I'm ASKING you how! Routine has been my greatest stumbling block as a homemaker. I am SO BAD at it. I have undiagnosed but pretty obvious ADD and I just don't get the whole building a routine thing, gods know I've tried.

Now, this may sound like a cleaning topic, but for me it's a family topic. I want more routine for the girls' sake, especially for Louisa, who's also pretty obviously ADD, perhaps the most ADD of us all--we all have it in varying degrees.

What helps you--Flylady? A rigid schedule? What? I'm at sea, and that means I'm going to be doing my research because that's how I handle these things. As I find out more I'll report back.

Update, Thursday: I met with the organizer.


RChrispy's picture

I struggle to in my ADHD world, but Flylday has helped me to the point I seem to be able to handle things and my husband is happy with everything.

Andrea's picture

For me, it has been routines, Flylady, and making a list everyday of what I want to accomplish - a manageable list. There are benefits to accomplishing what is on the list, but the psychological benefits of feeling like I've accomplished things are even bigger and more important! That feeling inspires me to do more and keep at it. Decluttering is big too - that is a constant -

carrien's picture

I decided what I needed done in a day and when it worked best to do it. THen I taped the schedule inside my kitchen cupboard. I try to keep a running list of things I need to do posted up on the fridge as well because I will forget completely if it's not right in front of me. SO my children are really resistant to doing things out of order now. FIrst breakfast, then bathe and dress, then school work, then clean up from school, then snack, then chores, then we read or they play while I clean the bathrooms or whatever is on my list for today, (I only have two jobs a day besides cooking and dishes, and it all gets done,) then we eat lunch, then baby naps, mommy works and they play outside, then we go out to run errands or go swimming or whatever. Then they pick up the living room while mommy makes dinner, when they finish mommy will tell them a story while I work. Then they set the table, then they eat, then they have a bath and go to bed and then I have time to write and load the dishwasher and take out the trash. I usually do extra projects on weekends when we don't have school to deal with.

angelb's picture

It all started with a simple morning chart for my daughter when she first turned 3. Mornings were awful. We'd be in pjs until forever and be racing out the door late for playdates. I grabbed some poster board and drew pictures for what I wanted us to do in the morning before we get to do the fun stuff like adventures and outings and things.
1) Sit on the potty (we were potty training then)
2) Make the bed
3) Have breakfast
4) Get dressed
5) Brush teeth and comb hair.
DD then got to decorate the chart and hang it in her room. Things got easier. She was excited to do the things on the chart. I could blame the chart when she didn't want to do something. DD: "I don't want to sit on potty!" Me: "Sorry. It's not up to me. The chart says we have to do it." (I am so warping my kid.)

Then she asked for a nighttime chart which has been a HUGE help when we have babysitters or when the not ususal bedtime parent is doing bedtime.

We aren't super strict about following the chart anymore. There's never been stickers/check marks when things get done. It is more a reminder now of what we need to accomplish.

As for cleaning-type routines, I'm not so hot on those, but I have found the day-of-the-week/chore thing to be helpful - you know wash day Monday, etc. For me it is
Monday - catch up on laundry (I try to do a little everyday, but I always fall behind)
Tuesday - library day - return or renew things plus it is storytime day
Wednesday - bill paying day
Thursday - market day and clean the upstairs
Friday - clean the downstair
Saturday - catch up (There is usually some chore that I meant to do that didn't happen)
Sunday - rest (But usually it is an extra catch up day)

Sparrow's picture

I struggle with routines, too--always have. I think my being a serious night owl (and feeling like I shouldn't be) is a big part of the problem. Nothing ever gets done at a "reasonable" hour, because I don't easily run on the same (morning) schedule as the rest of the world. This may be fine for me, but it's not fine for a baby, so I'm trying harder to establish some sort of regular routine (so at least I'll know if we're off of it!) I can't say we're doing all that well at it yet. If you find a magic solution, let me know! ;)

Lynn's picture

And I'll tell you what she says.

Lynn Siprelle, Editor

Shaun's picture

My organizer is saving the routines/schedules until we make more progress on the organizing itself. But I am seriously considering adopting the daily thing -- certain activities for each day of the week -- with my kids. It's just too stressful to start with a blank slate each morning, at least when 2 kids start bombarding you with conflicting plans. Library day, pool day (that goes to the sitter!), park day, home day, field trip day. My problem is that there's always something that comes up -- today we're going to the Dr. I'm starting an 8-week class -- more on that later, because I am soooo excited -- tomorrow afternoon. A friend invites us over to swim. Etc. Etc.

I'm trying to come to terms with the reality that I am really good at things that are largely invisible (e.g., the kind of research and writing I do, advising, behind-the-scenes church work) and piss poor at things that are out there for everyone to see (e.g., organizing my house and my schedule). While this is unfortunate if my goal is trying to look good, when I look at it objectively I find it somehow comforting.


Jilsyt's picture

Personally, I find myself RESISTING routines that I find in a book, or I make up on a chart. But, I started taking note of our family's "rhythm", if you will, and scheduled things around it. For example, I know my daughter will nap at 1:30 PM, and can require my son(4) to take his quiet time then, therefore I can do things in the kitchen (like pre-prep dinner, wash lunch and breakfast dishes, check my email, pay bills, whatever--read). We try to be outside or at the library for the first half of the day (I find the house stays cleaner if we aren't in it), and as for laundry...well, that seems like an endless task. Right now, there are two folded loads sitting in baskets, and one sitting in the dryer. However, the cloth diapers are always washed dried and put away promptly, because I learned the hard way that having to search for a diaper when you are in desperate need of one due to a baby "mess" is not worth the procrastination of putting them away. Plus, they go on a shelf right by the dryer, it'd be silly to take them to the other room to fold them, then bring them back!

Sorry if this doesn't help you any, Lynn, I know it frustrates my most organized, checks his planner 20 times a day husband, but I get what I need to done, and my kids seem to like the flow of things. I know I'll need to structure a bit more when DS starts more in-depth homeschooling, but for now, it's working, and it's us.

Guest's picture

Like sparrow I am a serious night person too. My conflict is that without a routine, nothing seems to be happening (or not much anyway).

First of all, with a baby it is sooo hard. Life as you know it has changed completely and any routine will have gone out of the window. But the good news is the little one will actually help to get routines going due to feeding times etc.

It helps to have a day for things like laundry, paperwork, cleaning etc. As I mentioned, I am a night person too, but I have stopped wasting my energy beating myself up over it. It's the way I am. The difference is that I will try to do things like hovering during the day so don't I don't upset my neighbours, and the rest happens in the evening mainly.

If I seriously want to build a routine I know it will take me about a month of serious self discipline. I make myself lists and notes to start off with and plan, and than I do the hard work of pushing myself to follow the plan. It works for me. And if I do have an odd day out I’ll go back to it the following day rather than giving up. I also try not to introduce too many new things in one go… that just sets me up for failure, … not good.

If you can get family to help. My 15 year old son for example is good at tidying up, but not good at cleaning… So I’ll try to teach him cleaning in small amounts and give him tidying as a responsibility. Less work for me and any future girlfriend of his ;) .

Hope this helps and encourages a little.

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