8 Super-Simple Ways to Improve Your Family’s Routine This Month
As a parent, the monotony can be real, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to break out of it. Small changes like strolling out of your way to check out a new playground or streamlining your laundry routine can have a big impact when it comes to making the days feel new—and more organized. This month, surprise the fam with these easy ways to mix things up.
1. Make a Commitment to Get Outdoors…Even If It’s Cold
Yes, the temps are dipping. Yes, learning to dress in layers is a life skill. Gather the kids, the parents, the dog and get the whole crew outside. Movement is the goal, whether you go for a neighborhood jog (yes, this is even doable with young kids—just let them set the pace) or kick around a soccer ball in the front yard. It’s a break from screens for everyone, plus, if you make it a weekly plan, it’s basically an appointment to get some fresh air.
2. Surprise Friends with Snail Mail
You’ve got mail. But, ugh, email can be kind of a drag, right? This is different. Encourage your kids to ride out the chillier months by becoming pen pals with a close friend, grandparent or favorite aunt, and help them discover the delight that is putting pen to paper…and then receiving a letter back. Parents can participate, too, and relish the ability to check the mail and get something other than a bill.
3. Check Out a New Playground
New experiences are the most reinvigorating way to switch things up—but that doesn’t mean you have to hop on a plane or shell out a bunch of money on a fancy activity. Instead, zero in on your current habits and think about how you can give them a new spin. For example, your weekly playground run. Is there another set of swings in a nearby location that is worth checking out? Do it. Your kids will be thrilled at the chance to try a new jungle gym while you’ll feel inspired simply by walking (or driving) a different route.
4. Reinvent Your Laundry Routine
When it comes to your weekly to-do’s, laundry can be kind of a bummer. But a couple of easy upgrades could be all you need to make it feel a bit easier. Say, a mesh bag that holds all your socks so they never go missing. Or enough laundry baskets for every kid and adult so you can pre-sort and save loads of time. Maybe it’s as simple as a gentle laundry detergent like All® Free Clear Clean & Care. The keratin enriched formula, with vitamin E, smooths fibers to promote elasticity, and is from the #1 brand recommended by dermatologists, allergists and pediatricians for sensitive skin. The devil’s in the details.
5. Designate a Family Fun Night
OK, you’ve already got an outdoor group activity on the calendar. But what about one that’s focused on some indoor entertainment? Consider a movie night or a game night or even enlisting your kids to be party planners, and brainstorm activities everyone will enjoy. Even if you end up playing a silly, kid-focused trivia game via your smart-home device, it's infinitely more fun than staring at your individual phones and tablets all night.
6. Rearrange the Furniture
Hear us out: A friend of ours swears by this as a way to change things up for the better. Move the location of your kid’s bed to the opposite side of the room; or reposition their desk (and yours) so it gets a bit of extra light. This totally free idea is one of the easiest ways to make your routine feel fresh.
7. Start a Virtual (Picture) Book Club
Think of it as a playdate with a purpose. Invite your kid’s friends—or their long-distance cousins—to gather ‘round the virtual table and discuss the latest picture book everyone is buzzing about. It takes minimal effort to pull off, plus it’s pretty hard for anyone to suggest they ran out of time to read the book. (Most titles cap out at 48 pages, so all you need is ten minutes to prep.)
8. Set Annoying Tasks—Like Homework or Chores—to Music
Unload the dishwasher to a movie soundtrack. Cue up something classical while the kids do their math homework. Music makes everything feel more joyful and less mundane. It also adds a bit of pep in everyone’s step if you make chores a game: “Let’s get the dinner table set in the time it takes to play the kid’s favorite theme song.” Challenge accepted…but also routine overhauled.