Establishing an evening routine is one of my goals for April. Last week I sat down and wrote down my evening priorities and what activities I would like to get done.
Step 1 of establishing a routine (any routine): write down your priorities and that which will enrich your life.
There are things that are a given/obvious priorities:
- kids have homework to do
- dinner needs to be prepared and eaten
- exercise (this is obviously not the only time to do it, but this is when we do it)
- kids need to get ready for bed (they need to brush their teeth, get into their pajamas, etc.)
These are life-enriching evening activities, which I want include as part of my evening routine (yours may or may not coincide with mine):
- reviewing the day's accomplishments
- reviewing my to-do list and calendar for the next day
- having my kids tidy their room
Step 2 of establishing a routine (any routine): determine a time sequence.
So... after several drafts, I came up with a basic outline of what I wanted my late afternoons/evenings to look like:
4:00 snacks, homework, chores
5:30 dinner, cleanup
7:30 snack ("dessert")
7:45 kids brush teeth, tidy room, get clothes ready for school
8:00 kids' bedtime, prayers
9:00 review day's accomplishments, review tomorrow's to-do list and calendar, read
9:45 wash face, brush teeth, floss
Again, this is a basic, flexible outline. This is the ideal, but I realize that most days won't happen exactly like this. I'm aiming for this though.
Step 3 of establishing a routine (any routine): create a checklist and refer to it often.
I picked up an inexpensive frame, put my checklist in it, and use a dry erase marker to check off what has been done. (I was using a protective sheet, but the dry erase marker was burning the plastic after so much use). The evening routine is still foreign to me. I have to work at it, which is why this visual reminder is useful.
Step 4 of establishing a routine (any routine): stick to it.
Though I have been working on my routine sporadically, I intend to truly stick to my routine in May. (I'm making it a goal then). I will be using this daily tracker to log my progress. Tracking your progress will provide an incentive for sticking with a new habit. Seeing those bubbles marked is strangely satisfying.
**I'm sharing pictures of my morning routine. I hadn't established my evening routine when I took these pictures. :)
I know that sticking to a routine- in this case, an evening routine- will be very rewarding.
Read more about when I discovered the efficacy of routine here. I share helpful articles for establishing an evening routine here.