I’ve found that getting into a schedule has been crucial to my success as a work-at-home dad. Having been a management major in college, and previously worked in a management career for a number of years, I’ve found that having things efficiently organized and on track makes my life easier to manage in a number of ways and areas. Having a general routine not only makes things easier for me, but for our son as well. This way, I can balance work, family, life, and fun in our at-home lives.
While it hasn’t always been easy, and I’ve certainly had to make changes over the years, here are some of the things I’ve done to make my at-home parenting routine a little simpler.
Give it Some Time
Developing and getting into a good at-home routine didn’t just happen automatically. I had to get to know myself and our child in the at-home environment for a little while before being able to see how things were going to work best. And I soon came to realize that there was really no such thing as a “set routine” for us. While I could get a general idea or have a decent outline for how a day was to proceed, much of this outline depended upon our son. This was true not only on a daily basis, but on a long-term basis as his needs changed and went from those of a baby, to a toddler, to a young man, and on into school.
Note Particular Times of Day
With each segment of our son’s development — and the general routine that came along with it — there were of course certain times of day when I could almost guarantee certain things would happen. Age two or age four, there were certain times that we ate breakfast or lunch, certain times we went for walks, certain times that we took naps, certain times or shows he wanted to watch, certain times he took a bath.
These were often the sorts of daily events around which we built our schedule and routine.
Communicate Schedules and Schedule Needs
It takes two (or more depending upon the number of kids involved) to tango. I found that my having a routine wasn’t nearly as effective if I didn’t communicate it to our son. Of course explaining scheduling needs didn’t do much good before he was age two, but once he was able to beginning listening, speaking, and understanding, talking to our son about the day or the upcoming week, and what was going to happen and when, helped me to get him to work with me and better organize our at-home life. Not only this, but it helped him to begin learning his times and days of the week, as he wanted to know things like when we were going to the park or at what time mommy came home each day.
Make Simple Things Fun Events
I quickly found that getting into a fun routine as an at-home parent didn’t necessarily involve daily trips to the zoo or the museum. In fact, I realized that I could turn what were to me quite menial and boring regular tasks into fun things that our little one looked forward to.
Things like going to get the mail, vacuuming, doing dishes, feeding kitty, and similar regular tasks were amazing new things to our son. And while these were boring old routine items to tick off on our regular schedule for me, they were incredible learning activities and events for our son to help out with or look forward to on the daily schedule.