For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33a
Parenting can be stressful, especially as we all prepare for back to school. There’s so much change. But with God, all things are possible—we can find peace amidst what at times feels like complete chaos. Here’s an example, from one of my chaotic and stressful mornings:
“Kids, put on your shoes! Don’t forget your backpack! Is your homework in there? Why aren’t your shoes on yet!? Put it on in the car. Let’s go. We’re running late…again!”
Sound a little familiar? If it does, then you’re probably tired of the chaos too. Yes, I got them off to school with their shoes and backpacks. Success. But it was stressful. I can’t carry that stress every morning. Nobody can. We need a better plan. We need God’s plan.
God’s heart for families is to be united so that we can live in peace. Chaos without a plan divides us. But God’s plans and His peace bind us together. As us mothers prepare for the start of the school year, let us seek ways to bring peace into our households. I pray we will all be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)
In my eagerness to maintain the bond of peace in my household, God encouraged me to find solutions by gleaning from the wisdom of teachers and educators. Teachers are experts at managing children and maintaining a place of peace for children to learn. I’m blessed to be surrounded by educators in my work and I believe the key to building and maintaining a place of peace is in routines.
Routine. Routine. Routine.
Children thrive off of routine. I didn’t understand how much until I stepped into a classroom to read a book during music time. I thought my impromptu decision was brilliant since I’m a good storyteller, but the kids started having a meltdown. Children do better when a clear and simple routine is in place.
In order to fight chaos and stress, it’s time to start creating a schedule and a plan. Having clear family values, goals, and routines in place is a simple, practical, and powerful way to keep our families bonded and united in peace. I encourage you to seek God’s wisdom when creating routines for your home and watch in joy as He alleviates the stress not only in you, but also in your children’s lives. I pray you’ll be free to enjoy what’s truly important—loving one another.
How to Fight Stress in Parenting: 5 Helpful Routines
- Create a morning routine with your family. If you are a parent to young babies and toddlers, then simply plan a productive morning schedule for yourself and baby. If you’re a parent to older children, sit down with them and include them in the plan. Tell them you want to have a family goal of having more peaceful mornings together, so you’re going to create a morning schedule with them. Teacher tip: teachers include students in discussions about behavior and responsibilities so that students are able to take ownership. When I sat down with my daughter, she was excited to grab a paper and pen and think through a morning schedule with me. Next, include a daily visual to help. I put a whiteboard next to her bed and let her write her morning schedule on it. Now, every morning she has a visual reminder and I don’t have to verbally remind her as often of her responsibilities. Less yelling or micro-managing every morning equals less stress for everybody.
- Create a chore chart or weekly planner with your family. I used to just tell my kids when it was time to vacuum or water the plants. But again, the micro-managing of chores was stressful. A chore chart or weekly planner reduces stress and provides another helpful visual for children. Same as the morning routine, include the kids in making it so they feel pride in their contributions to the home. And make it age appropriate. Write down the daily chores/responsibilities together and think about including a goal for the week at the bottom of the planner as a positive reminder (ours was to work on manners/kindness). You might be surprised at how productive this is. For example, when scheduling my meals for the week, my daughter was delighted to meal-prep with me! Win-win. I’m growing and so is my daughter. And we’re bonding in a meaningful way. For my younger child who’s still learning to read, I created a chart with pictures of the chores. And he can put a sticker or make a dot with a marker every time he puts his dishes in the sink or cleans up his toys. I love seeing the pride in his eyes for helping around the house.
- Organize. Time to do some cleaning and organizing together. It will reduce stress in the long run if your home is clean and if your kids know where to put their toys, shoes, backpacks, etc.
- Don’t forget about the value of family dinners! This is a time to laugh and enjoy each other’s company. It’s also a time to model and teach good behavior! Laughter, love, and well-behaved children will help eliminate stress in the home. I have to admit, I’m not the greatest cook and I’m not as vigilant at family meals as my parents were. But God constantly reminds me of the value they bring to a family and to a child, even if we’re eating pizza. There’s value in teaching your child to ask to be excused from the table, to say please and thank you, to listen to and care about the day other family members had, and to feel cared about while you listen to them.
- And of course, if you don’t already have one, create a bedtime routine. Ending the day in peace will help you and your kids rest well. Pray together, sing a song, and read with your child. It’s a small, but meaningful way to say goodnight to your kids. For older kids, read chapter books together (Bible chapters count too!) Listen to your child read one night. Read to your child the next. A page or a chapter is enough…whatever time allows. And then have sweet dreams, resting in peace!
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Katherine Krause is new to Moms in Prayer and to the Moms in Prayer headquarters team, serving as the ministry’s Social Media Coordinator. She has a heart for children and schools and is passionate about helping others. She holds an M.A. in Education, and a B.A. in English Education. When she isn’t connecting and praying with moms online, she’s helping children learn and achieve their goals—including her own two precious children.