Our youngest son is 6 years old, and since the time he was about 3, there’s nothing he loves more than when dad tucks him in at night and does ‘the piggy toes’. In fact, his last words verbatim every night before he heads downstairs to go to bed are these, “I love you, hug & kiss in bed, don’t forget to do the piggy toes.”
Well, sometimes I take a little longer than he thinks I should before I make it to his room, but no matter how long it takes, it’s very seldom that he falls asleep until I’ve made it in to do the piggy toes. In fact, some times he’ll even weasel his way back up to the top of the stairwell to remind me that he’s still waiting and to ask if I’m still coming.
So, what’s the big deal about the piggy toes? Well, I don’t think that it’s the piggy toes that matter to my son as much as it is the importance of the daily routine of his dad making him feel loved just before he goes to bed each night.
There are many things that we all do for our kids out of routine that meet their needs and sometimes even pamper to their wants. Sometimes this may be as simple as a daily ritual, a special phrase between parent and child, or simply a nightly hug before bed.
But what is it about a routine that is so important? Here are a few reminders as to why a routine is really important for our kids.
A ROUTINE PROVIDES NEEDED CONSISTENCY
Whether it be in our daily routine or in our discipline, kids thrive on consistency. Our kids need our lives to maintain consistency as much as possible for their sakes, and a routine helps to bring that about for them.
A ROUTINE BRINGS ABOUT SECURITY
There’s something that makes my son feel secure every night once I’ve tucked him into bed and done the piggy toes. And whether it’s a bedtime routine, a morning routine, or even a favorite phrase you say to your kids everyday before dropping them off at school, a routine that they can count on makes them feel secure.
A ROUTINE NONVERBALLY SPEAKS LOVE
A routine speaks your child’s love language, because it’s a part of the love language of every child. When I do the piggy toes, my son feels that daddy loves him. When I routinely tell my daughter that she’s beautiful, she feels loved by her daddy. Because a routine speaks love.
A ROUTINE MAKES LIFE EASIER FOR BOTH OF YOU
Rather than having to rehash expectations and responsibilities, a routine, whether it be for bedtime, chores, homework, etc. allows for both you and your child to share an understanding of mutual expectations. This relieves both you and them of unnecessary friction that can naturally come from the lack of a routine.
A ROUTINE MAKES GOOD SENSE
Most of us have a routine we follow in every other area of life, so why not our family? It benefits both parent and child, and better yet, it follows the biblical principle to ‘let all things be done decently and in order.’ Hey, if it’s good enough for God, it ought to be good enough for us. 😃
So, the next time your kids try to ‘enforce‘ a family routine upon you, don’t begrudge it, embrace it. Because the day is going to come all too soon when them asking you to “do the piggy toes” will only be a cherished memory.
In what areas of your family do you need to incorporate more of a consistent routine?