Routines, friend or foe
Routines – Friend or Foe
On Sunday we went to the beach. The day ended in blazing sunshine, but as we arrived in the morning the rain was coming down with attitude. My heart sank, as I remembered a previous rainy day at the beach.
You see we have a beach routine; not deliberately but by default. At the beach (in no particular order); we go on the donkeys, we play in the sand, we go on the trampolines and we play on the pier. On a rainy day none of these things are possible. On a rainy day the routine does not work. You have to adapt, go to a café, look round the shops and play on the pier. These are all things that on a normal day would be enjoyed, just not on a beach day. You see they are not what happens on the beach.
Routines can be a double edged sword. They are a big part of what enables my daughter to cope with the world, but if we are not careful they also become her biggest trap. There are some things set routines are great for – how to keep clean for instance, or how to get eady for school in a morning.
But in general I’ve learnt the hard way that we need to introduce our routines flexibly. We need to think about whether if we set up a firm routine it’s a routine that can be guaranteed to happen in the same way every time. If it isn’t we need to assess whether the benefit of that routine outweighs the distress at those times it doesn’t happen. If the distress is likely to outweigh the benefit we either avoid setting up the routine, or try to set things up flexibly from day one.
After all, I value both my sanity and that of my daughter. And I would quite like to be able to go to the beach, even on those days when it chooses to rain…