Boundless Family Challenge Week 4 – Routines and Connection

How to Develop Routines For Your Kid’s Success

Your children will have routines in their lives.  If they attend school it’s the class schedule and how the material is presented each day.  If they are home-schooled, it’s your strategy to get them to retain your lessons.  

It is typical to let routines sort of “just happen.”  Whatever happens at school is how they like to do things.  Whatever happens in the morning is just the way it is.  Instead, let’s take a deeper look at how we create, frame, and hold the family accountable to these routines.  I’ll use the hot topic of negotiating tech time with children. 

Developing Home Routine and Systems

Step One – Define Success

The first step is to ask yourself tough questions which will take the most heavy lifting. 

  • What does success look like to me?  
  • What’s the outcome I’d like to achieve?
  • Is this really a problem we should solve now?
  • Is it worth using “my parenting capital” to enforce this routine?
  • How will it benefit the child? 
  • What’s the message I should deliver to the child when creating this routine? 

Let’s dive into what this looks like with tech time.  Our children have tablets and would be attracted to using them often.  It’s an available distraction and playing games will provide them with predictable dopamine release without a lot of effort.  

My wife, Melanie, and I started asking the above questions first.  We realized that success had to be clearly defined instead of the vague “let’s get them to use it less.”  Instead, the outcome we’d like to achieve is to teach them a few of the pros and cons of technology so they become responsible users, even if we’re not there. 

Instead of letting things bubble up and us scolding them randomly throughout the week, Melanie and I discussed it during our weekly family meeting. 

Step 2 – Frame The Discussion

We presented the problem we wanted to solve and the pre-discussed success outcome.  Then we sat back and listened to the kids.  

They asked questions and provided suggestions.  Yes, they absolutely whined a little bit, but I pretend I can’t hear that pitch of voice like humans and dog whistles.  When they speak clearly they get my full attention.   

Be the facilitator of the discussion and hear them out.  It’s better to increase buy-in if ideas come from them and aren’t all parent generated..even if you guide the discussion so they come up with the ideas that you want too. 

They came up with three 15-minute tech time sessions.  With that agreement, Melanie made a chart for them to mark off as they are used (provided as a handout).  

Step 3 – Hold Accountable 

We’ve never got the routine perfect in one try.  Each week for a month we’d revisit this topic during our family meeting to see how it was going.

The kid’s brought up that they’d like the opportunity to earn an extra one on the weekends so we created a plan for it together. 

I brought up that I noticed times were lasting longer than 15 minutes so we bought timers and they must be set during tech time.  We let the children come up with a consequence if they failed to use the timer or abused the system.  From their creation, it was 24 hours without their tech items.  

Even as long as 6 months later we were still refining the system.  Our middle son, Henry, told us that he was struggling with stopping his time.  He’d use all 3 in a row and it wasn’t as enjoyable.  So we added that the times could not be used consecutively.  

Then we brought up the content they used on their tech time.  It wasn’t educational.  They explained that if they are limited to 3 times, they’re going to pick games over reading their school books online or learning.  It was a good point, so we added 1 time and it had to be educational.  

Routine Wrap Up

You can see that it’s an ongoing discussion.  However, your critical task is to define success first.  That will allow you flexibility with the method, allow for buy-in from children, and let them own more of the strategies used to achieve success.  

Act as a facilitator that is determined to reach a certain goal and be flexible with how you get there.  Include them in the discussion and you’ll teach them lifelong critical thinking skills through your routine management. 

Additional Resources

10 Ways to Grow Tiny Superhumans

Boundless Parenting Book

This week’s call info

Wednesday, February 22nd at 5 pm PST

Speaker: Coach Joe H

Zoom Link:

This Week’s Printable

Week 4 Boundless Family Challenge Printable