In the beginning was . . . routine. In the first verses of Genesis 1, routine is immediately evident. God designed His majestic creation with order. Before there was even a sun in the heavens, there was evening and there was morning. There was a routine.
God created a day and then a week. He set apart time for work and for rest. The Garden of Eden was an orderly place. God even walked through the Garden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). In the Old Testament, God laid out rules to follow and festivals to observe regularly. In the New Testament, God revealed His plan to defeat chaos and restore the order that was His original intention.
We can look at nature and see the fingerprint of God. Have you heard of the Fibonacci Sequence? Spend some time looking it up. It’s amazing to see patterns that can be observed in the smallest of organisms, like snail shells, all the way to the largest of galaxies. So much routine!
Humans are made in the image of God and so we, by nature, also love routine and thrive within its boundaries. It makes us feel safe. It gives us purpose and the security of knowing what to expect. Our children are no different. Disorder and uncertainty unsettles them, and they crave the safety and security of routine. My friends, it is our job as parents to provide that for them.
We are facing a time of great uncertainty and change. It seems like there are so many things to worry about, and it’s hard to grasp even a little bit of control. That is a terrible feeling, and our kids are sensing it too. They are looking to us to set the tone in the household. They need us, now more than ever, to share hope and peace with them and to show them the great God who loves them so much. One way we can do this is to make our quarantined households places of routine.
There are many suggestions for daily schedules circulating all over the internet. I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all routine that is going to work for everyone, but it is important to sit down with your family and come up with a daily plan for how you will be spending your time. As you do so, here are some things to consider:
1. Spend family time with Jesus every day.
There is nothing more important than praying and being in God’s Word together. This will help you keep your eyes focused on the One who is truly in control.
2. Practice gratitude.
The Bible exhorts us to give thanks in every circumstance. (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 and Philippians 4:6–7). Thanking God for our blessings is one of the best ways to combat fear. Maybe you can create a family thanksgiving journal or spend some time each day writing thank-you notes to people who are a blessing in your life.
3. Have some family fun.
We have been given an unprecedented opportunity to slow down and spend time together. One of the biggest parenting challenges we face is carving out quality time and, all of the sudden, we have so much of it. Play games together, read together, bake together, take walks together—enjoy one another!
4. Do chores.
Keeping a clean and orderly environment in your house can make everything feel more peaceful. Make beds, tidy rooms, vacuum, dust. Everyone can participate.
5. Get outside.
With all the cancellations, outside is not closed! Ride bikes, walk the dog, color with sidewalk chalk. The fresh air and sunshine will be good for your body and your spirit.
Many schools are providing online learning. This will be a great gift to keep minds engaged and provide a sense of purpose and stimulation. Think outside the box and learn new things as well. Play an instrument, pull up some “how-to” tutorials, learn some magic tricks, figure out how to crochet. When do we ever have the time to do those things?
7. Be firm about sleeping, eating, and hygiene routines.
It is so easy to stay up late at night, forget to brush teeth, and make the kitchen a free-for-all. But everyone will be their healthiest, both physically and mentally, if these routines are kept firm. Keep a bedtime, take regular baths, and prepare healthy meals to eat together.
This too shall pass. Jesus has already conquered sin, death, and the devil. Eternity is assured. In the restored creation, there will be a perfect routine with absolutely no fear, uncertainty, or chaos. Let’s take this opportunity to make our homes a picture of the restoration for our children. We might even find that we create some habits that last long after COVID19.
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