Creating An Evening Routine That Works For Your Family

Routines are quite possibly one of the most important things in running a family and the evening routine is no exception.

Creating an evening routine that works for your family

What is the difference between an evening routine and a bedtime routine?

Evening routine is the routine and time before you start your bedtime routine and after dinner. This is the time of day where siblings might be playing together, you’re getting home from work and daycare and you’re starting to transition into “mom mode.”

Bedtime routine is the routine you have to get your kids ready for bed. It starts as soon as you begin the bedtime steps.

What is the best way to build an evening routine?

As always, you should focus on yourself and your sanity and abilities when creating this routine, as well as your kids’.

Motherhood Uncomplicated - 3-step straightforward framework for problem solving. realistic expectations, annoying mindset, self nurture. 3 steps to creating an evening routine for your family
  • Realistic Expectations: What is realistic when deciding the details for your evening routines with your family? What can your kids realistically handle? What can you realistically handle? After dinner is quite arguably the hardest part of the day. Keep that in mind when you’re trying to figure out how to implement this routine.
  • Annoying mindset: Our kids can only handle so much and we have to give them a break, especially at the end of the day. It is a lot on them especially if they are at school or daycare all day. Try to remember that they aren’t trying to be jerks to you. What other mindset phrases can you think of that apply here? Related post: 9 Daily Positive Affirmations For Moms
  • Self-Nurture: Evening routines with your family are one of the main reasons why we need daily self-nurture. If you spend that time on yourself during the day, it’s really going to help you focus on them during this chaotic and challenging time of day. Related post: Self-Nurturing vs Self-Care: for moms
Flooded with decisions? simplify your thoughts and reduce mental overwhelm today with this free guide.

Tips for building a family night routine

  • Divide and conquer: If you have a partner that is home with you during the evening, divide and conquer the kids. It’s also a good idea to alternate bedtime so you’re not handling the same kid every night.
  • Be realistic: Don’t give yourself or your kids too much to do. This part of the day is exhausting for everyone – remember that!
  • Stagger bedtimes: Giving everyone a different bedtime will spread out bedtime – this may seem silly because it feels like the night is being dragged on and never ending, however, you’re not trying to handle multiple kids at once.
  • One on one time: Another benefit of staggered bedtimes is it allows you to be able to spend some one-on-one time with the kid you’re putting to bed. 10-15 minutes of one-on-one time a day can do wonders for a kids’ behavior.
  • Do it as a family: Create your evening routine together, as a family. When kids have a say in something, they’re more likely to follow through with it.
  • Think about the morning/next day and do what you can to prepare: What is tomorrow like? Check the calendar and see what you can do to make tomorrow go smoothly. Set out clothes, make lunches, etc.
  • Clear a path: House messy and you’re too tired to clean it up? Clear a path – literally. Do the bare minimum to get through.
  • Hard stop for screens: Pick a time that you will stop the screens. Even better if you can get yourself to stop screens at the same time.
  • Don’t overthink it. This is my best piece of advice and its necessary for all decisions you make!

Activities for before bedtime routine (wind down activities)

  • Card games
  • Cooperative games
  • Coloring and activity books
  • I-Spy books
  • Magnet tile building
  • Heavy compression sensory work (pretend the child is a pizza crust and ‘make a pizza.’)
Flooded with decisions? simplify your thoughts and reduce mental overwhelm today with this free guide.

Is the weekend evening routine different than school night evening routine?

This is totally dependent on your family. Some families can get away with keeping their kids up later during the weekend and some just can’t. You’ll have to ask yourself where your kids are in relation to sleep and flexibility.

The routine itself can be the same and it can be 30 minutes to an hour later on the weekend.

Routine example

  • Dinner
  • Kids play while parents clean up dinner
  • Showers/baths
  • Pajamas and brush teeth
  • Wind down activities
  • Choose books to read or listen to
  • Lights out and eyes closed

Next Steps

  • Decide if your family needs an evening routine.
  • Outline how you will create the routine with the 3-step framework:
    • Realistic expectations
    • Annoying mindset
    • Self-Nurture
  • Gather some wind down activities
  • Plot out your night time routine with your family (but keep yourself in mind!)
Flooded with decisions? simplify your thoughts and reduce mental overwhelm today with this free guide.

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