When people say their lives have become “a routine” it’s not a good thing. The monotony of it can make people feel deflated and bored. But when you have children you celebrate the routine! I love routine for my children. The beauty of knowing what your day is going to be like, when you are meant to be doing things, and what’s going to happen next is a source of comfort. Well, to some of my children it is to the others it doesn’t really make a difference but I’m sure they are happier for it.
B in particular, who is turning 3 in a month, worships his routine. He sticks to it so steadfastly that if there is any deviation it truly bothers him. It’s important down to the order that we do things in and what we say when we do them. He, like J, likes to follow rules. For example no shoes on the carpet in the family living room because the kids are always rolling around on the floor. So when I had guests over who kept their shoes on B went round to each one and made them take them off.
The routine that is most important to him by far is the bedtime routine. It starts with his bath. We go up to his room and in the bathroom we start filling the bath. He puts his oil in for his eczema then pretends to try and get in with his clothes on. And I have to say “B! not with your clothes on silly!” and we laugh. Then he does a wee wee. And when he first started using the toilet I would have to do the “wee wee dance” which I unfortunately did once when he first went in the toilet and it kind of stuck. Now though I have to stand outside the door till he’s done.
After bath times there’s lot of wriggling around and running from people trying to put cream on him and dress him and running naked to his sister or brothers room. Then, when he’s finally dressed, it’s story time. Story time can’t be in his bed, it has to be with us sitting on the small day bed in his room. Our choices are one of four books, which he knows by heart now mostly and sometimes improvises by adding his name in the book in the place of some words. I now know them by heart as well and could probably draw the illustrations that go with them. The books are ‘Goodnight Gorilla’, ‘What The Lady Bird Heard’ (my favorite!), ‘Brown Bear’ and an Arabic book with animals and their sounds.
After story time I have to carry him “downside up” to the bed. So I grab his feet and swing him over to the bed (praying my aim stays true and his head doesn’t collide with anything else but the pillow!). On the bed there are 4 cushions which we move to either side of him, propped up against the safety rail of the bed. He lays down on his tummy and we turn off the light. Now if we turn off the light before all this happens the world will possibly end!
“Do Quraan now please” he says and sticks out his arm for me to scratch while I’m reading the same 4 Sura’s that I read every night. (Sura being chapters from the Quraan). At the end of the first Sura he says “now you’ll do Quraan for S and J and K?” and I say yes. When I’m finished B chooses between his quilt or his blanket. It’s always the blanket then not the blanket anymore then the quilt!
Then I say “I love you” and he says “All in the world”. This started as the answer when I asked him once how much he loves me. Its his way of saying a lot. I turn and start walking out the room and when I am around the corner he says “KISS! RUN!” so I have to run back and kiss him and say “you forgot?” and then I walk out again and he says “HUG! RUN!” and I have to run back in and say ” you forgot!” and on a good night that’s it.
Funny how I say that’s it when “that” just seemed like a lot! It’s good fun. And admittedly I’m not always there for the bath and story part but the Quraan and after I am present and enjoying it.
None of my other kids have had any kind of similar rituals really. S likes to be tucked in a certain way and I read Quraan for him as well. J has to ask a million profound questions and needs things a certain way in her room. I also read for her. K is every changing in what he likes and doesn’t like but B has it down to an art.
Do your children have any rituals they stick to? Do you think they are beneficial or just good fun?