I was told that “assume” means “to make an ass out of you and me” so, although it can seems obvious for why routines are important, let’s just say, I’m not going to assume you know in case I stuff it up for both of us.

If we don’t know how to create routines yet, it would seem pointless trying to come up with the best routine if we don’t have a clear picture of why they’re important to start with.

Here’s what happens if you don’t have a strong and well thought-out routine:

• Your Ex will end up interferring or perhaps even controlling your life with their ad hoc demands

• You never know how to answer your children when they ask “When are we going to Dad’s next?”

• You can’t plan in advance for important events in your life, nor your holidays with our without children

• You will have more clothes and shoes go missing, costing your more in both frustration and money

• You’ll have to make more emergency trips back to Dad’s to collect the homework that’s due tomorrow

If you work with the strategies I’m about to share with you for a Routine That Rocks:

• You’ll gain independence from your Ex more quickly

• Your children will be happier because they know what to expect

• You’ll know how to handle the handover times so both you and your children are comfortable with it

• Your children will come back to you with enthusiasm and bubbling with stories

• You’ll treasure your time with and away from your children equally
To help you understand why routines are so important, I’d like to start with the latest findings that have been released in the United States of America by doctors in psychology. After studying the long term effects of routines inside families over the past 50 years, they’ve discovered some really interesting – and perhaps not so surprising results.

Most of us like to think we do an okay job at being a parent, wouldn’t we? We’d like to occasionally pat ourselves on the back and say, “I’ve done well, and my kids are great”. It might also be nice for our friends and family to pass it on now and then too.

Well, if you’d like to hear those words, here’s a very good reason to have solid routines. From the 50 years of research conducted by the doctors, the top area of importance was actually directly stated as ‘higher parental competency’.

Just this point alone is one of the top features of great routines. Would you have picked that?

So, if you’d like to be considered by you, and your family and friends as a competent parent, start building solid routines.

The second point, it’s so much better for your children’s health. They will be effected if you don’t have good routines. Now, this isn’t just routines between your place and their other parent – this is routines in the home but there’s more on that in the program.

If we place predictable and effortless routines that are well known to your children, you will avoid them wondering or guessing when another change is about to happen for them.

You’ll start placing the importance of them making decisions for themselves back with them.

They’ll stop feeling like they’re being dragged off to another place to spend the night. That’s not a very welcoming feeling for any child.

The third more important discovery made from the psychologists were that there was greater peace and harmony between the parent and children.

Now, nearly every parent I know at one stage or another, has hoped that they’ll be one of the lucky ones who’s kids enjoy having them around.

We all hope that we’ll build a strong relationship with them and that they’ll talk to us when they need help.

Strong routines is one of the ways to do it.

It builds respect from your children because they feel that you’re doing okay as a parent. You’ve obviously thought things through enough to be able to have it the same way regularly enough for it to be called a routine.

This is so simple that it’s almost too easy so we discount it.

Of course, this said, if it’s that you’re consistent about something you shouldn’t be doing, then this is clearly not of value at all because your kids won’t respect you, nor confide in you and so on.

The final reason to build solid routines in your children’s life is it has been proven to be key in higher academic achievement.

For your children to thrive in the fast-paced world of our modern society, they need to feel confident in their schooling. They need to feel good about learning. It helps them enormously if they can develop great study habits and follow simple structures like ‘being on time’.

All this is what is learnt through children being in better routines.

When children are without a plan for their immediate futures, they can feel completely powerless. If this is normal to them, their way of coping with this powerless feeling is either become angry, or they’ll slowly sink into apathetic numbness.

Either of these outcomes is self-defeating and high damaging to your child’s future.

The best part of knowing all this is that Routines are not that demanding to put in place. Sure, I hear you, “Your Ex will never cooperate”, and some Ex’s don’t but by far, most do. Most Ex’s eventually succumb to a routine because the consequences of not working with it make it worthwhile keeping it for the most part.

Actually, most Ex’s also like it once they’re in a routine because they also start to feel they’ve got some control over their life. That’s good for you, them and your children.

So, now you know why, how is next.

How to build solid routines takes a lot more interaction from you than just reading to understand the why. The how requires you to know a bit, practice a bit more and then learn a bit more. This process will take a while to refine – and just when you think yo’ve got it sorted – your children’s requirements will change on your because they’re growing up! :o) Doesn’t this just sound like fun.

It is fun – it’s actually not difficult either once you know what you’re doing.

To make sure you do know what you’re doing …www.ComplexFamily.com

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Jill Darcey (author, parent, founder, and speaker) is a mother of three with thousands of hours of experience as a counsellor and coach, and more than a decade of real-time experience with "complex family" parenting --- parenting through separation, divorce or some other family breakdown. Jill is someone who has both vision and wisdom and has learned a lot of what does and doesn't work — and some of it the hard way!

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