The immediate answer could be: Is it working?
More specifically, a successful routine is one that is mutually beneficial for you and your child, and gets the necessary tasks accomplished in the available time. Morning and after school routines can be tricky! We can often see which aspect of the routine is challenging for our child, but figuring out how to fix it can be more difficult.
The best way to figure out how to make the routine work better is to have a conversation with your child and work together to fix the problems. Here are a few things to keep in mind when troubleshooting the routine with your child:
Do They Understand the Tasks?
Check out with your child what they understand when you say “make the bed” or “pack your backpack”. These kinds of instructions can mean different things to different people. You might be surprised that your child is not wilfully disobedient, but rather doesn’t know specifically what you are expecting from them.
What Needs to Get Done?
Consider why you want your child to do the things you’ve set out for them. Are these things very important to you? Are they important to your child? Could they be better accomplished if moved to another time of day? Some tasks might be negotiable, while other things might not be. Might it make things easier if (just for now) you dropped certain expectations? What does your child see as the important tasks? Why? Work together to negotiate a reasonable number of tasks to be accomplished.
What Happens When?
The general rule of thumb is to have the less desirable task happen before the more desirable task. The same principle applies when we eat the food we hate before the food we love, and why dessert follows dinner! There is a commonly held belief that broccoli before ice cream is motivating us to finish our broccoli. Does the order of tasks work for your child’s routine?
Supporting this principle, Brili automatically adds reward time (like play, or screen time) at the end of routines so that kids are motivated to finish their tasks quickly.
Make it Visual
Visual reminders are helpful for many people (young and old) as it helps prompt, predict next steps, and in the case of Brili, helps to motivate.
What positive changes have been made to your family’s routine? Share your strategies with other parents in the comments!