Caregiving Routines

Why You Need to Establish A Daily Routine in Your Sandwiched Home

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I fill many roles in my life, as I’m sure you do too.

  • I am a wife
  • Mother of three children
  • A caregiver for my MIL
  • Homemaker
  • Blogger
  • Active church member

These are just a few of the roles I fill on a regular basis.

There is a lot on my plate. With all of these roles and the activities that come with them also come the questions:

  • How do you keep chaos at a minimum?
  • How do you avoid burning out?
  • How can you keep all of these balls we juggle up in the air without losing our minds?
establish a daily routine

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Establishing a Daily Routine

The answer to these questions is by establishing a daily routine. Now, I know what you’re thinking. With all the unpredictability of LIFE in a multigenerational home, how can we possibly have a daily routine?

Before we start establishing our daily routine we need to discuss exactly why you need a routine and how it will benefit your home and daily life.

Related Post: Set Boundaries for Your Elderly Parent in Your Sandwiched Home

Why are daily routines important in sandwiched homes?

Important for You (and your sanity!)

I thrive on routine. I love it’s predictability, its stability, it’s normalcy. There are many though, who don’t. If you are one of the many not like me, you might be asking why you should bother with an organized routine.

1. It keeps your home and family running smoothly.

When I have people over, one of the first things they notice is my clean home. I have no great secret other than my routine. My beds are made, toys picked up, dishes washed, kitchen kept clean, floors vacuumed all because of our routine.

Everyone in my family knows what to expect and what is expected from them. There is less chaos, less confusion, less mess, and less fuss.

Because of our routines, my working husband is (mostly!) aware of our schedule. He knows the days I run errands and the days I stay home. He knows when to best schedule his appointments and when I will be scheduling appointments for others.

Related Post: Should My Working Husband Have to Help with The Housework?

2. It allows you MORE time to schedule family fun.

I had someone tell me recently that they hoped they had time to clean their house before they left for an upcoming trip. Their home is not on an organized routine. They had plans to clean it “last weekend” but, like it frequently does, life got in the way and they weren’t able to follow through.

When you keep even the most basic of routines, you won’t have those worries. You will know that you will go on your trip and resume your life in a healthy, clean, organized, minimal chaos environment.

3. It keeps your stress at a minimum.

As much as I try not to, I do occasionally get sick. When that happens I don’t do anything. I feel ok with doing nothing because I know the next day I will still have my routine to help me get back on track.

I’ve had naysayers tell me that routines just tie them down and keep them from doing “the fun stuff”. In reality though, a simple, well-planned routine will free you to do the things you actually want to do.

In large part because of my routine, I am able to pursue many of my own interests without sacrificing bits of my home and family.

Important for Your Kids

1. Kids thrive on routine.

They need the consistency and normalcy that a routine provides. While my kids don’t yet tell time, they are aware of the sequence of our routines. For example, everyday we get up, we get dressed, we have breakfast. They know when I start preparing lunch it’s time for them to pick-up the toys in the living room.

2. It helps them develop healthy habits for adulthood.

Think about your routines, the things you do automatically. Brushing your teeth, the foods you eat, how you fold your towels. Most of us learned these things from the routines our parents instilled (or didn’t instill!) in us.

I can vividly recall the routines my mom had for us growing up (Evening Routine: dinner, clean-up, bath, PJ’s, teeth, tv time, bedtime). We knew exactly what we were to do and when. Now, as soon as dinner is over, I clean the kitchen. I have good bathing and hygiene habits.

3. It provides a sense of safety and security.

My kids know what to expect and what is expected of them. It helps keep them calm (alright, calm-er). It helps keep chaos at a minimum in our home. When emergencies or events arise that take us away from our routines, it provides us an easier recovery and a way to return to “normal” quickly.

Related Post: Teaching Your Kids to Be Amazing Caregivers

Important for the Elderly

In the same way that a routine is good for kids, it is also good for the senior adult(s) in your care.

1. It creates comfort and stability

Have you ever heard the phrase “set in their ways” to describe a senior adult? My 92-year-old grandma uses it regularly. I love visiting her and watching how precise her routine has become.

When you get older and your memory starts to fade and your body becomes slower, you need something that will keep you grounded. You need your routines.

2. It allows confidence and independence.

I don’t think I realized how important our routine had become to my mother-in-law and her mental and physical health until a recent visit from my sister-in-law.

She lives in Kentucky but visits several times a year. Each time she comes she wants to spend as much time with her mom as possible, doing things she knows her mom enjoys, taking care of any business, and working hard to give me (the primary caregiver) a break.

Our routine has become so precise that appointments are only made on certain days (unless there is an emergency), bath times, mealtimes, and bedtimes are carefully scheduled, medicines are taken at certain times, and we at least try to use the toilet every two hours. While she may not remember the details, my MIL knows when these things are supposed to happen. It gives her greater confidence at home and keeps her confusion at a minimum.

What happens to your elderly parent when you get off the routine?

During my sister-in-law’s last visit, she and her mom spent most of their days away from home, running errands. Most days they were out from sunrise (or shortly after) to sunset. It was fun, it gave me a nice break and it allowed them to spend quality time together, but my mother-in-law quickly got off her routine.

The result was spending a week of recovery following the visit where she was almost constantly confused, didn’t use the bathroom (so multiple daily bed changes), got her days and nights mixed up, her medicine schedule was messed up, and she and I (and the rest of the family) were generally miserable.

After our week of recovery, we began a “routine boot camp” where we worked around the clock to re-establish our routines. My husband, sister-in-law, and I have learned a valuable lesson – not to let my MIL get too far off her routines (or suffer the consequences!).

The Importance of Organizing Your Routines

A routine is defined in the Meriam-Webster dictionary as “a regular course of procedure”.

In lay-man’s terms (you know, normal talk), a routine is something you do all the time – your tasks, chores, duties. You can probably think of several things right off the top of your head that are routine to you.

So what difference does it make if your routine is organized or not?

I don’t know about you, but my life can get pretty chaotic. Thinking about all the things I have to accomplish during the day:

  • keeping everyone fed, clothed, and somewhat healthy
  • meeting appointments and deadlines
  • making sure we’re not living in a pigsty

All of these things and more are swirling around my head daily. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were certain things you could put on autopilot and not have to worry about?

This is what an organized daily routine is, putting the things that you do every day on autopilot.

A routine is more than a daily task list, it becomes part of you. My daily routine is divided into two basic and very simple parts – the beginning (morning routine) and the end (evening routine). Of course, I have “focus areas” in between those, but the things that must be done every day are organized into these two routines.

Your Life on Autopilot

Everyone has some kind of routine. You have those things you do automatically, without really thinking about it. Organizing your routine allows you to do more with your day.

  • It gives your family stability and security.
  • The expectations for you, your home, and family members are defined.
  • You are free to do more with your time.

Establishing a simple, organized routine will keep your home running smoothly, give your kids stability and healthy habits, keep your parent’s confusion at a minimum while providing them with some much-desired independence, and keep you from losing your mind amidst the many roles you play.

Finally, by establishing routines, you have put the functions of your home on autopilot so rather than worrying about the daily chores and how they will fit into your day, you will have peace knowing there is a process for getting things done.

Did you like this post? How have you established daily routines in your sandwiched home? Let me know in the comments below!

Empowering women to THRIVE in their multi-generational homes.

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