One of the best times of day to start putting a routine into place is in the evening. By creating a calming nighttime routine, kids are able to settle down and get ready to go to sleep. And if your evening routine includes some steps for the kids to follow that can get your family ready for the next day- even better! Here's how to create an evening routine for your family.
The First Step to Create An Evening Routine
It all needs to start with a clean kitchen. Fans of the Fly Lady know that she says that every evening you should “shine your sink”… and what I think she's really trying to convey is that the next morning when you walk into your kitchen- it is so much more pleasant to face the day when things are clean, the dishes are washed, and the sink is empty. Your day starts out with total drudgery if the first thing you need to do is to scrape the hardened crud off of last night's dishes and load the dishwasher. So at our house- immediately after dinner the kids are asked to scrape their plates into the garbage, rinse them, and then put them into the dishwasher. They help me wipe down the table, put away the leftovers, and wash and dry any dishes that need to be done by hand.
Have the Kids Get Themselves Ready for the Next Day of School
Next it's time to get things ready for the next day of school. Once homework is completed and I've had a chance to check it over, I ask the kids to take their homework, put it back into their homework folders, and put the folders into their backpacks. We also check to see if they need to return a book to the school library the next day or if there's anything else that needs to be in their backpacks. For my kids that play an instrument at school, we also take the instrument and place it near the front door- so won't be forgotten in the morning rush to meet the bus.
Our Sunday Night Routine to Start the Week
On Sunday evenings we do a few extra things which “sets us up for success” for the week ahead. After dinner we review the school lunch menu for the week, and the kids can tell me if they intend to purchase the hot lunch at school or if they want me to pack a lunch. For the days they wish to bring a lunch from home, we plan in advance what they would like to pack. This makes my school-day mornings go so much easier- because I don't have to think about what to make everyone- it's already all planned out for me. On Sunday nights after the kids have showered, we will also pick out their clothes for the week ahead- laying them out by day. This helps us to avoid most of those early morning “clothing dramas” when one of my daughters can't find anything to wear!
The Bedtime Routine
Once we accomplish all of this “getting things ready for the next day”, it's time to do what most families do in the evening- which means get the kids to brush their teeth, take showers, put on clean jammies, and cuddle up in bed with a book. Kisses and sweet dreams!
Want to See More?
Here's a quick 3-minute video on our family's evening routine:
What About You?
How is your evening routine working for you? Please leave a comment below!