When I think of the word "routine", lots of things come to mind.
Morning routine...you know...shower, hair, get dressed...that sort of thing.
Used to be that I had to include the kids in the morning routine, but mine are all big now and manage their own morning routine.
I have a routine after I finish teaching each day to get set up for the next day. Just in case something comes up to delay me in getting to the studio, at least I'll be ready to go once I get there.
Then there is my supper routine. On weeknights I have to be organized and get supper ready to go early in the day because I am teaching music lessons until 6 or 6:30.
Routines help me feel like things are under control. I know what to expect and it makes me feel relaxed about the coming day.
Have you ever noticed how many routines we have in Kindermusik? More often than not, children eagerly come into the classroom asking about the balls in the bin. For many it's a highlight they start talking about on the way to class. In our oldest Kindermusik class there is the routine of picking a "special helper" each week. In Imagine That classes we always sing our "Hello" song using the stuffy friends they have come to love in Our Time classes.
When we start singing our "Hello" song in any of the classes, it is the sign that we are officially starting and children start gathering up and feeling ready. When we get our stamp on our hands at the end of "Our Time" and "Imagine That", or our sticker in "Kindermusik for the Young Child" it means we are wrapping up. And it helps children to make the transitions more easily.
Routines at home are really important, too. It helps in making a family feel stable, getting things accomplished, and creating an environment of belonging. Children like knowing that mom is going to have a snack for them after school, or a story after their night time bath. And, I think, children - no matter what the age - like knowing that their routines are long lasting.
Just the other day I brought home a new "special plate". When my kids were little we had a red "You are special today" plate that we used all the time. If it was your birthday...special plate day for you. If you got a good report card...special plate day. Helped your brother in a thoughtful way...special plate day. And then one day, the special plate somehow got broken. In the end it's just stuff...disappointing, but just stuff and not worth any tears. But my heart was a little sad because it held so many family memories and it was our celebratory routine to get it out.
Fast forward a couple of years and I happened upon a new cream coloured special plate. It wasn't the same, but my thoughts went to all the times we could use it again. I brought it home on my husband's birthday and set it out for him at the dinner table. And you know, the family was quietly happy to have a new one.
Now I don't tuck it away any more. It sits out on our kitchen counter, ready to be used at a moment's notice. It is our family routine...and makes us feel...at home.