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Effectively Structuring Your Family Life

Recently a dear friend of mine commented on how much we seem to be able to achieve as a family, within a day.

She mentioned how we seem to have 8 days instead of 7, and 36 hours instead of 24. Although she is far too kind with her praise and way too generous with her encouragement, time management with a young family, is one area that I am continuously improving in.

Learning to take control of my time is one sphere I am truly passionate about. I am always tweaking our family routine, just like an engineer would to his construction plan, to ensure that the household thrives as the season changes. Many times we may want to build tall, without going deep, but godly domesticity teaches us to go in and dig deep by mastering the basics well.  The old adage that says: “until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else” is true, and it is so imperative to learn how to take control of this commodity called TIME, especially when you have little ones in the home, whose worlds are anything but predictable.

In total honesty, the reason why we could achieve and produce more is because we are learning to tap into the overflow. We are learning everyday how to find our source of fruitfulness in God alone. We are learning to take holy pauses and worship. We are learning the virtue of quietness and we teach that to our children.

The other big factor to being productive with a busy household is far more simpler. It is in well managing your home life. When the home is under control (and yes I am talking about the cooking, the laundering, the cleaning, the daily/monthly/yearly maintenance of a physical house) and the children’s days are structured, you can really move on to other pursuits of interest.

Proverbs 24:3-4 says: “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches”.

One of the most important tools a parent has to have in their arsenal is an effective structure and a flexible routine for everyone in the family.

If the family unit is likened to a moving wheel, a flexible routine is like the spokes that hold the hub together and keep the wheel moving. A routine provides the structure needed to maintain the inner workings of the family life while meeting the needs of the rest of the family. By the inner workings I mean, everything we have to do to keep life going.

A routine then, will provides the foundation that enables the further creative expressions of the home. When you have a routine for yourself and your kids, you will soon reap the benefits of having free time with which you can nourish your soul and enhance your creativity, because all the basic needs of the family are being met consistently.

For example, a routine provides the framework for you to teach character and virtue training in the life of your children. One of my best daily highlights is to look forward to my personal hour with God in the morning, my free reading, writing and studying hour in the afternoon everyday, and my quiet moment alone or with my husband at night. With our children, I look forward to our bible and breakfast moment in the morning, our circle time in the evening and our heart-to-heart chat in the night. I also know that the way their days at home are structured are meeting the training goals that are age appropriate and to the higher standard of the Bible, which gives me immense satisfaction.

When you are well and truly established in creating flexible routines, you will soon notice a  flow and a rhythm that meets both the needs of parents and children alike, and your days at home will be one that bring ultimate fulfilment.

Having children would invariably make you very busy and unless you learn to take control of your time daily, and know what it is that you are trying to achieve, you will find yourself exhausted, frustrated, and confused at the end of the day. Raising children and running a household forces you to learn organisation skill to a new level.

Periods of rest, replenishment and recreation are necessary so that you as a giving parent can last for the long haul. You also need a calm oasis for continuous learning and reflection so that you area perpetually growing in your role.

But how practically would you do this when you have multiple children with multiple (UNENDING) needs, different timetables and education requirements, schools runs, after school activities,  community life while keeping the home well cared for and the food continuously flowing?

Let me share with you the secret of ensuring your family life thrives. It is in being faithful in keeping to your structure. Structure and routine are basics that we need to be brilliant at, and even though they may seem insignificant, you will notice a marked difference when they are done well.

Structuring your day is much more than just doing a timetable

It is about creating rhythm and routine that will bring harmony and meet the goals for every member of the family. It will reduce conflict, satisfy needs, give individualised attention, reduce attention seeking problems which means less trouble that your child will get into, remove the feeling of being overwhelmed, gives time to high priorities, gives you more time to be in the thinking zone, puts you in the drivers seat to take charge and control, allows you to stay focussed on the bigger picture stuff, promotes discipleship and builds happy, contented hearts.

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