Whether you have a small or large family a schedule can be easier said than done. When kids are young there are regular interruptions like spills and dirty diapers. As the children get older there are school and other activities to include. This may make you decide to skip worrying about a family schedule, but it is worth the effort.
A Family Schedule for Meals
There have been entire books written about the importance and usefulness of a family meal time. In some cultures it is so important there is no other option. The family meal time works best the more regularly you can schedule it. However, even once or twice a week is much better than not at all.
Often these once a week mealtimes are combined with a family game night. There are other excuses to gather together. However, if it takes a game or movie night to get everybody in the same place, go for it. A family meal time is a great way to make sure kids have regular meals that are not junk food. It is also a way to build relationships among family members and share family values. These results are huge as your children grow older. A lot of problems teens and tweens face can be avoided by a strong family background like meal times.
A Family Schedule for Sleep
It seems like regular bedtimes are becoming less popular. This is likely due to a number of reasons including parents working longer schedules. Dual income households also make it harder to get home and get everything done in time for a regular bedtime. The benefits of a good sleep schedule have mental and physical aspects. However, it also has great side effects.
A regular bedtime for children means that parents have at least some time every night by themselves between when children go to bed and the adults do the same. Some parents use this time to catch up on chores and cleaning. I would avoid making this a regular use of those times. Take at least some of that time to have discussions and maybe regular “us time” that can be the difference in a strong or weak relationship. Strong parents are more likely to raise strong and healthy children.
Vacations and Recreation
Some say that children are always on vacation. This is not true. Even if it was, family vacations and regular breaks offer something to everyone. When a family has scheduled “time off” it gives more incentive to the parents. A job can easily supersede rest and relaxation and we see this all the time. Long hours and working weekends can wear out an individual and an entire family. When you set time aside for your family it helps you in your job as well.
The biggest modern challenge seems to be electronic devices. It is too easy for us to always be “on call” and our children occupied with other entertainment. When a family schedules time off together they hold each other accountable. Thus, everyone is more likely to follow through. This includes parents that claim that they have to be able to be reached by their job. Kids will not put up with being told to put away their devices as a parent is glancing at their own phone or checking email.
Strength In Numbers
One of the traits of successful families is that they push each other. They share goals, accomplishments, and challenges. Thus, each member can be strengthened by a “team” of family members that helps them stick to their goals. A schedule of tasks like eating, sleeping, and work/school can hold everyone to a level of expectations and make each person better at all they do. This also establishes habits that can lead to a life full of successes instead of unending struggles.