Simplify Family Schedules with Traditionsposted by Andrea | 04/25/2013
As I mentioned earlier this week — I have kind of a crazy work schedule. Dave is also quite busy with school, coaching, student council, etc. — and then there’s house work, yard work, volunteer work, and Nora!
Our home is busy — but in a good way.
Even with the best intentions to simplify and organize, life gets crazy and things don’t always go according to plans.
I’m sure you can relate.
You may remember my motto for 2013 is “A Year of Ultra-Simplicity“, and one of the ways Dave and I have been able to REALLY simplify our busy schedules is by implementing daily and weekly traditions.
They are nothing super formal or set-in-stone, and nothing is hurt or lost if we veer slightly from our traditions. However, these simple traditions save us loads of time, energy, and stress.
Let me explain!
If you think about some of your holiday traditions, you probably realize that you do the same things each year, eat the same foods, put up the same decorations, go to the same parties… and it’s all fine and wonderful because you know what to expect, you can plan ahead, and you have something to look forward to.
However, traditions are not reserved solely for holidays or other special occasions; you can quickly and easily implement traditions into your every-day life to simplify and save time.
Here are a few Dekker traditions.
On Sunday mornings, we almost always have cinnamon rolls. And on Sunday evenings we almost always have pizza. These two “traditions” are so simple… but since we almost always eat the same foods for these two meals, I never have to waste time or energy figuring out what to eat.
If I have more time, I might make homemade pizza and cinnamon rolls from scratch. If I have less time, we’ll pull a pizza from the freezer and open a can of refrigerated cinnamon rolls.
Done. No extra thought required.
When Nora was only a few months old, we were told to develop some type of bedtime routine or tradition to “signify” that it is time for bed — and thus help the sleeping process. After 17 months, I’m sad to say that it hasn’t helped Nora sleep any better… but it HAS helped her wind down and realize that it’s time for bed (whether she sleeps or not!)
Every night, usually around 7:30ish, we start our “traditional” bedtime routine. Dave snuggles up with her on the couch and they watch an episode of Daniel Tiger or Curious George on the iPad. Then Dave gives her a bath and she enjoys splashing around for a bit. I change her diaper, put her PJ’s on, feed her, and put her to bed. She almost always GOES to sleep right away — she just doesn’t STAY asleep. However, we’ll take what we can get at this point!
It’s not a perfect system, but Nora’s bedtime tradition takes the guess-work out of when/how we will put her to bed. We do it roughly the same way each night and I’m hoping (praying) that we will continue to see progress in this area.
I already talked a bit about our traditional Sunday meals; however, I have a pretty simple method for planning meals throughout the rest of the week which saves me time and stress.
You can read more about how I plan our weekly meals in this post… but the general concept is that we eat certain types of food on certain days (Italian on Mondays, Breakfast on Wednesday, Mexican on Fridays, etc.).
Obviously, the world doesn’t come to an end if we mix things up a bit, but by having these simple traditions, my meal planning doesn’t require nearly as much effort or time – hallelujah!
These are just 3 really simple traditions Dave and I use on a daily and weekly basis — I could list many more, but I think you get the idea.
Some other “traditions” you might implement in your home are:
- Family movie night (with a specific meal or snack each time)
- Babysitter night (a.k.a. date night for mom and dad!)
- Taco night (kids seem to love tacos and you could make different types of tacos each time)
- Sleep-in Saturdays (or Sundays) where you sleep in, stay in your PJ’s, and eat a yummy brunch
- Parent-child date nights (one-on-one with each kid every month — and let them pick the place)
- Game night (no TV or other electronics allowed)
- Pool day (if you have access to a community pool or a local gym membership)
- Special shopping weekend (once or twice a year — maybe stay over night or go to a fancy restaurant)
Again, I could go on and on!
All these traditions make planning your week, your meals, your after-school-activities, and your schedule so much simpler because it takes the guess work out.
Yes, there might be times when you mix things up a bit or deviate from your “normal” traditions and routine, but if you always have that tradition to fall back on, life just seems to run smoother and be less stressful.
Don’t you think?