An Ode to Routine

Who says a regular bedtime isn't important?

Our family holiday ended with a sleepless night due to the incredible display of the body’s ability to reverse the direction of the digestive track – our little Banana vomited through most of the night. The Bear isn’t fairing much better what with late nights, a seemingly endless supply of Christmas chocolate and boisterous cousins. We’re all out of routine.

I look forward to holiday time as an excuse to relax routine. But after a week or more, I crave structure.

I often wonder if the label of slow parenting, free-range parenting, or idle parenting sends the wrong message. The labels suggest a hands-off approach to every element of the children’s lives. But when it comes to routine, leaving the kids completely to their own devices isn’t healthy. I believe routine gives our family structure. Routine provides little rituals that help make the girls feel secure because they know what is coming next. It’s about safety in predictability.

Soon we will be eating normally again, family debate club will be put on the back burner, and bedtimes will return to normal. We’re all looking forward to a little familiarity to our days!

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6 Responses to “An Ode to Routine”


  1. 1 Mama Tortoise January 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    THanks for all the comments, readers!

    It’s funny how it takes the holiday time when we’re out of routine for us to appreciate the value of a routine. Children love predictability and rituals – they are just not themselves when they don’t have it.

  2. 2 Big Mama January 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    My 2 girls were so used to routine!! When necessary and before they could tell time, we were able to follow the 3Bs, bath, book bed and they would pretty well go to sleep, even if it was only 6 pm. This only worked about every 6 months. The times that we felt it was necessary is when my husband and I were determined to have an adult meal together or when we were flying abroad the next day. (not that often)
    Love the comments.

  3. 3 Heather December 31, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Routine is definately needed. And I’m the one learning this still. Joseph needs his naps and a bit of structure to his day…snacks, free play, and getting out of the house. I find that on weekends, I try to fit in as much as I can and it often means that Joseph misses out on his nap and ends up sleeping in the car. This does not make for a happy child and then dinner time becomes a struggle and then bedtime. I am learning that things can wait and I need to fit them into our routine…which is still being developed and constantly changing.

  4. 4 CousinTortoise December 31, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    After the amount of sweets and wine that were consumed during this holiday I have to laugh that google ads is advertising the Betty Ford clinic on your site!

  5. 5 hereticsanonymous December 31, 2010 at 4:35 am

    We were away for almost a week, with different time zones, bedtimes, sleeping arrangements, missed naps, and crazy meal times. If it was tough on the kids, it made me crazy. Routine is a good thing!

  6. 6 Michelle December 31, 2010 at 4:20 am

    Routine makes us sane in our house! Not that I give itineraries for every minute of the kids’ days, but we have predictable meal times (with healthy food!), bed times and school. Without them the kids seem wilder than usual, a bit more crying and arguing. The holidays have been fun and relaxing, but we’re ready for a return to our “normal.” Happy New Year Mama T!!


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