For many years, accepted pediatric and psychological research has indicated that families with a set family routine are better adjusted emotionally and socially, and even perform better at school and work. Familial relationships and bonds become stronger, as well. Routine creates a sense of consistency and calm for many people.
Routines also give you a dependable framework for scheduling other activities throughout the week. No more double booking or missing an appointment! When your time feels more structured, you know exactly what you can get done and there’s less time wasted.
However, the act of creating a routine that works for everyone can be a challenge. If you need family routine examples that work for all types of families, we’re here to help.
Before you can create a successful routine for your family, there are a few things to consider. Every family is different, so there’s no catchall answer. Even so, there’s some consistent groundwork that everyone can work with to get started.
Here’s a quick checklist to get started.
Write down current wake up times, mealtimes, school arrival, work arrival, etc.
Consider what you want from a family routine. Less chaos? More constructive time?
Gather materials to create a physical schedule everyone can reference.
Pick five smaller goals to work toward to start.
Get accustomed to setting timers and alarms!
Creating a schedule requires some work, but it’s well worth the effort when you realize how much it can reduce stress and fights. When everyone’s on the same page, there’s less irritation and late starts. Meals become a time for gathering and being together, rather than rushed and haphazard.
Scheduling can feel like a monumental task when you’re not used to it. Bear in mind that it doesn’t need to be done all at once to create a seismic shift in your family life. One step at a time!
A family routine should account for your family’s unique needs, but that doesn’t mean you have to start completely from scratch. Do a search to find family routine examples on parenting and day journaling sites along with additional advice on how to give your family more structure.
You don’t have to commit to anything right away. Just aim to find a few sample schedules that speak to you and seem like they’ll work for your needs. This is something you’ll end up taking ownership of, so remain flexible and feel free to take notes as you go.
Rosy is awesome for creating voice memos throughout your day. Just ask her to record and make yourself a quick verbal note!
Now that you have a loose structure to aim for, you can apply it to your real life. Before trying to implement a brand new schedule, continue life as normal and pay closer attention to how an average day shakes out for the family.
When does everyone wake up? Do you eat breakfast together? Who needs to be at work or school at what time? Lunch breaks? Snack time? After-school pickup, activities, sports? Dinner? Homework? Evening wind-down? Bedtimes?
Write it all down, even if it’s a bit messy. You’re trying to get a general idea of when existing activities naturally fall so you can try to choose times that work best for everyone. To split the load, have everyone record their own schedule if they can. Here’s a rough family routine example before it’s polished up and refined:
6:00 a.m. – Mom and Dad wake up, shower, dress
7:15 a.m. – Child 1 wakes up (hit snooze, Mom had to intervene)
7:30 a.m. – Child 2 wakes up, needs help dressing and brushing teeth
7:45 a.m. – Fast breakfast, everyone gets something to grab and go. Dad leaves for work.
8:15 a.m. – Drop off Child 2 at daycare
8:30 a.m. – Drop off Child 1 at school
9:00 a.m. – Arrive at work…
It’s easy to see how messy things can get. The goal is to get everyone on the same schedule so there’s no scrambling to wake one kid while the other needs breakfast or hopping in the shower first when your partner has a morning meeting and needs to leave early.
Your new family routine doesn’t have to be set in stone or account for every minute of the day. On the checklist above, we mentioned choose five small goals to work toward. That’s where you’ll begin.
Those goals can be generic or specific, whatever works for you. It can be as simple as “out the door at the same time every morning” or details like “create a meal plan for dinner to cut down on shopping and cooking time.”
Starting with a smaller goal will give you a better chance of achieving success and gives you something to build toward. Once you realize your mornings are working better and you’re experiencing less crankiness and fighting because everyone knows when they need to be where, you’ll be excited to expand the schedule to fit the rest of the day.
Time to break out those crafting supplies! Creating personal schedules is a great family activity to do together. Whether you print them out, write them down, or scan them into your digital assistant, everyone gets to take part in the project.
For younger kids and people who do well with colorful posters and lists, sit down and create a big, bold, colorful sheet with the day’s routine written plainly with times alongside each activity. View each time as a goal rather than a hard deadline, at least in the beginning, and allow some time on either end for wiggle room if someone’s having an extra sleepy morning.
For adults and older children, bullet journaling might be of interest. If you’re uninitiated, here’s a great beginner’s guide to bullet journaling to get you on the path. There’s a lot of room for art and creativity, and if you make pages you’re especially proud of and want to keep, it’s super easy to scan them into Rosy!
However you decide to record your schedule, make sure each family member’s timing matches up. The point is to make sure everyone’s schedule overlaps to prevent crossed wires, after all!
Select an average week where nothing major is happening — no work trips, big school projects, holiday parties — and implement your schedule. Get everyone in the family on the same page about following the family routine through for one full week.
The goal here isn’t to be as rigid as possible in forcing a huge change, but to see if your proposed starter routine is working. A week will give you plenty of time to realize what’s working and what isn’t. It’ll also get everyone into the rhythm of working off a schedule every day.
Remember, baby steps! If you need a reminder, feel free to use Rosy liberally to leave yourself verbal notes. In a future update, Rosy will even be able to help families coordinate their schedules!
By now, hopefully you’ve had plenty of opportunity to check out other family routine examples and implement your own test run. This is the part where you make adjustments!
If you’ve just dived into working off a schedule for the first time, it’s very likely that not everything will go to plan. That’s okay! This is why we suggest starting small and building from there. It’s important to celebrate small successes along the way, so give everyone a gold star — literally or figuratively — for every one of those first five goals you were able to accomplish.
Now take a look back and figure out what did and didn’t work. You may need to redistribute certain tasks if someone’s taken on too much and another person has more time on their hands. For example, one parent may take care of both kids in the morning and find themselves with too little time to get ready for work. Split the load and have each parent take ownership over getting one kid clean and dressed every morning.
Trying to do too much? It’s okay to cut things from the schedule. Maybe there’s one too many after school activities to keep track of and it’s worth it to drop something. You may also find that certain things end up being less of priority than others, so you don’t have to feel bad about shifting the time you spent there to more important areas.
Once you have a routine that works for everyone, you can expand it to include more until everything is accounted for. You’ve done it!
In order to keep your shiny new routine working like a well-oiled machine, we highly recommend incorporating family meetings into your life as well.
Meetings function as a way to check in with everyone and make sure the family routine is working as intended. If anyone has conflicts or additions, it’s the perfect place to bring them up. Often, involving the whole family in the decision-making and planning offers better results because everyone feels some form of ownership over the process.
Ask everyone to take a moment to come up with an item to speak about in the meeting and genuinely listen to everyone.
Congratulations, you’ve created a functional family routine! For more ideas on where to get started or things to try you may not have thought of yet, read more family routine examples here.
As you start to get used to the routine, you’ll find that your mornings, days, and bedtimes are so much less hassle. Everyone will be in a better mood and hopefully better fed and rested. Enjoy that time together!
Prep for digitizing your new routine by joining the waitlist for the Rosy app and console, coming soon!