Routine vs. Schedule


A learning spirit is so important to parenting. If we were to carry around a “purse of gold” (wisdom) from which to draw, I don’t believe that one could do any better than to draw from the wealth of wisdom they have readily before them in books, older Christian parents and Christian peers.

“Christian Parenting” authors and “older-wisers” in the church have so much experience and results from which they can draw and teach. Good Christian peer’s child training styles and opinions are the “iron against our iron” that can grind against us and cause our biblical beliefs to be strengthened or wear down our rough edges.

You see, this learning spirit is necessary because as a parent has their first child, many times they try to “undo the wrongs of their parents” by doing things “differently” in their own home. Yet, rather than being reactionary against one’s upbringing and going the opposite direction, a parent needs to seek TRUTH and WISDOM from their available resources and LEARN THE BEST WAY to parent and use their God-given personality and gifts to adapt it into their home environment.

The important truths of child training that are consistent throughout many Christian child training books as well as the advice given from many of my “older-wisers” include:

1. You need to be proactive and provide your children opportunities to learn how to behave properly. This is how training is practiced in schools, business and the military. Homes should take note. (A good way to do this is by having them by your side as you work. This let’s them learn a humble, teachable spirit and to learn things by someone with experience, rather than from “the school of hard knox.” This is especially helpful as they grow older and have from experience learned to trust your opinion and guidance rather than venturing out on their own to find their “own path.”)

2. Know your child’s heart, and allow the “rod of correction” correct the attitude more than the action. (The best way to know your child’s heart is by spending time doing things with them. You will hear them talk, see their responses to your directions, and be near them when their habitual responses rear their ugly heads. You can stop bad habits / actions before they start, by seeing the heart symptoms and teaching them the BIBLE’S WAY to respond.)

3. Have joy in your home: smile at your children, let them know they are a blessing and a gift. Never degrade them: especially to others. (A child will not want to grow up like mommy and daddy if the children see the parents as worried, irritable, yellers who moan about the burdens of children, church and finances. They will find the quickest route to their bedroom, their friend’s house, and later a love interest or the sparkling world and all it’s deception. Let them know that the joy of the Lord is your strength and be an example of the fruit of the spirit.)


Everything we adapt as parents must have a “WHY” behind the “HOW.” (If you have something that works for your family; than that is wonderful. If you are struggling to get it all done with a good attitude, this may be just what you need.)

Why a family routine?

1. A routine supplies an environment of order. (I Cor 14:40)

2. A routine allows for a structure of home management or “guiding.” (I Tim 5:14)

3. Proper home management provides every opportunity to fulfill your household responsibilities and “train” your child in proper habits for life. (Prov 22:6)

4. A well oiled machine requires less maintenance. If your children are busy getting ready, tidying their room, having family devotions (or quiet time), and being “good helpers” to mom with the household chores (even if it takes WAY longer), they aren’t busy learning habits and responses of dawdling, hitting, screaming or pestering each other AND you.

They often seem like the wicked widow that the Bible speaks against.

1Ti 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

God’s way of keeping these actions from happening was by giving the women something to do. (I Tim 5:14) We need to learn from God’s example.

5. A routine causes a mom to cherish their children as life-long companions rather than frustrating distractions.
Moms get irritable when they are trying to “get things done” and children constantly interrupt. If the mom tries to find a moment of peace, the children try to get her attention and the mom feels guilty because she hasn’t spent any time with the children. How can she? SHE HAS SO MUCH TO GET DONE.

A family routine keeps children working with the mom. Then when quiet time comes, it is a deserved and enjoyed quiet time for all.

1Th 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

6. A routine keeps a mom’s mind from being split into a million directions; which in turn provides JOY.

3Jn 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

Example 1: The house is a mess and soon dinner preparation will need to occur. Before dinner the house has a quick “clean up.” This is just what the family does before dinner prep; no questions asked. The children come to mom and she “guides” them as to which chore they fulfill. When they are done, they come back and ask her what else they can do. This instills teamwork, a timeframe of accountability, and a mom who can ensure that all is done with obedience and a good attitude. End result: The house is picked up BEFORE dinner prep, and now they can all move onto the next task at hand.

Example 2: Dinner needs to start. The house is a mess: school books on the table, toys on the floor, mom’s project on the counter, and everyone just came in from the car. Kids wander off and the mother hears distant thuds, yelling, and she sighs an overwhelmed sigh. “What am I supposed to do about dinner?” She starts picking up and in a raised voice says, “KID’S COME CLEAN UP YOUR STUFF.” She continues picking up her project off the counter. Fifteen minutes later she realizes that the kids still have not picked up their stuff. “KID’S GET IN HERE. NOW! FASTER. RIGHT HERE. Okay, now you see that stuff. PUT … IT … AWAY.”

Mom’s frustration and feeling of hopelessness builds as she realizes that she did not require first time obedience and the children are still dawdling as they haphazardly and half-heartedly put away their belongings. She knows that dinner time will not be better because the children will continually distract her with arguments while she tries to make dinner. She thinks, “I WONDER IF I SHOULD JUST PUT ON A MOVIE. That always keeps them quiet.”

Rather than opportunities of training, teamwork and a sense of family accomplishment, the mother has pushed of her child training responsibilities and surrendered to “raising” them and allowing the movies to “teach them what life is REALLY about.”


1. Running your life by a clock brings continual stress and failure.

  • Some weeks there are late night church activities and getting up at the same time every morning just does not happen.

  • The “rod of correction” apparently has not become friends with “time frame”. (Smile)

  • A child peeing their pants (and the dining room chair) runs outside of the “breakfast” time allotment.

  • Your daydreamer just looked up and said, “Yeah, I read the instructions. I just forgot.” And you realize that math today is going to take a little longer.

  • Who knew the only line open at the grocery store was the “coupon specialist” aisle.

  • You tried being “hospitable” last night and now you realize that you have two loads of dishes to UNLOAD and then RELOAD before you can finish breakfast.

2. A schedule tends towards micromanagement, and who likes to be micromanaged? (Susie needs to be done brushing her teeth by 8:30 and start making her bed, so that Freddy can get into the bathroom. Freddy can take his shower and be out by 8:50 and Charlie can get in the bathroom so that school can start at 9:15.)


If your husband is lucky, he can get caught in the mix and find that he is “managed” as well when he gets home from work.


The idea of a family routine is one where the family works together as a team.

Everyone has a responsibility in each task. (This is a bit more difficult with younger children. Mom or an older child will rotate spending time with the younger children to train them in life skills.)

Let’s look at an example:

1. Breakfast / Load of laundry / Proverb for day – Children and mom work together and set table, get drinks, make breakfast, eat, read a Proverb, clear and wipe table, empty and load dishwasher, sweep floor and start a load of laundry.

2. Devotional time – Older children and mom take turns reading Bible aloud for designated time and take time for quiet prayer time. Children have a quiet, play time then family works together to teach little children to clean up afterwards.

3. Get dressed and Tidy room – Everyone works together to help get this accomplished. Mom teaches younger children while older children fulfill their responsibilities and then as mom gets ready they switch and the older help teach younger children how to get dressed, brush their teeth, make their bed and put clothes in appropriate place.

4. Next is whatever has been deemed as the most important responsibility in your routine for that day. (After lunch continue working through your priority list until all is accomplished.)

· Is it school? Then bring the smaller children to the table and have them do something with you while you teach?
· Is it chores? All children “report to mom” to seek a “duty.” Mom manages children ask they complete their tasks and work together to complete the chores. As one chore is completed, the children come back and ask for another chore. They work as a TEAM to get things finished. Mom works alongside smaller children to “train” them how to be “good helpers” and in turn teach them how to accomplish their “chore.”
· Is it time to exercise or play outside? Then everyone gets involved.

5. Lunch / Fold load of laundry / Start new load of laundry – Similar to breakfast, but as the lunch tasks are designated someone also folds the load of laundry started at breakfast, and someone puts it away and starts a new load. Meals take a while to prepare and clean up; therefore they are a perfect time to multi-task with laundry.

6. Naps are a quiet time in the home. They can become a “family quiet time” by having children read their literature, color, play quietly and if necessary a mom can take a quick nap.

7. Pre-dinner clean up. (as described earlier)

8. Dinner / Last load of laundry folded and put away

9. Evening activity

10. Prayer and time with father

The key is TEAMWORK. If it is time to do homework/ tidy rooms / etc.; there is nothing else to be done. There is no excuse but slothfulness or disobedience for not accomplishing the task at hand. If a child has inner motivation and accomplishes their responsibilities ahead of time; than they can be rewarded by free time during that part of the routine. You are TRAINING your child in habits, skills, teamwork, a positive attitude, and self discipline. ALL OF THIS IS ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH A WISE USE OF A FAMILY ROUTINE.


What to avoid. :)

1. Look at your husband’s work schedule. This will lend you to an approximate sleep / wake up time.
2. Gauge what approximate times you eat on which days. Sleep and food are your relative anchors, everything else is more flexible.
3. Look at your family’s daily responsibilities.

  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Food preparation and meat thawing.
  • Family Devotions
  • Everyone get’s dressed.
  • Room’s picked up
  • A major chore
  • A load or two of laundry
  • School
  • Nap or Reading Time
  • Pre dinner cleanup
  • Evening activities seem to include Church, Family or School
  • Showers
  • Bed
  • Alone Time with Husband

4. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. Ask God and your husband what should be your first priorities and the most efficient layout for your day.

5. Develop a rough daily ideal: Don’t be an overachiever and don’t be an underachiever. Be realistic; remembering it is not JUST about getting things done but training your children in HABITS AND SKILLS FOR LIFE.

6. Day by Day

This is the most important part of a routine: daily flexibility and adaptation.
· Daily Direction:

Part of your morning routine needs to be training your children in the importance of daily devotional time with the Lord. (see my article on How to Have Personal Devotions with Children in the Home) We personally NEED to come each morning and have a quiet time of prayer: TO SEEK GOD’S WILL FOR OUR DAY.

We need our heart and will to yield to the word of God, so that we can abide in the strength of the Lord that comes through the vine of Christ. We can then freely ask God what HE WOULD HAVE FOR OUR DAY and then as He leads, write down the top five or six things that need to be done that day in your routine.

As we ask for His will to be accomplished in our life, we can confidently know that whatever comes our way that day IS PART OF HIS WILL FOR OUR LIVES.

Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

If sin, dissention in the ranks, costly repairs, inconvenient interruptions, a moody spouse, or a clash of wills with you child arise; you can smile inside and say, “I know this is part of GOD’S WILL in my routine today. I can just meet it with a godly attitude, be a good example and train my children how to deal with rough circumstances.” (James 1:2-4)

· Daily Strength:

Sometimes a day as a mother feels a little like the description of the following verses.

Psa 63:1 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; (we find we have no help outside of God)

Psa 17:7 Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. (you being the former, your children being the latter)

Daily devotions and prayer in the morning not only give us a direction in our routine at the start of the day, they also provide us with a refreshed, renewed mind and a restored hope for the day.

Psa 119:114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

Psa 119:107 I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.

In God’s word, we see that it is that God gives us what we need for the day, but He does not promise or allude to giving us any grace, direction or strength for the next day. He gives us DAY BY DAY what we need.

Mat 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

Luk 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

This principle helps us to understand that nothing is set in concrete; especially not a routine. God guides us each day and gives us the strength and grace we need to fulfill our responsibilities.


1. Diligence

Rom 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

2. A sense of humor and a smile.

Just for fun.

Jas 1:2 – 4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; V3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. V4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

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