Creating an Evening Routine Final

Creating an Evening Routine

I am an introvert who loves nothing better than to sit on the couch beside my husband, curled up with a good book and a cup of tea.  I am also an introvert who teaches middle school children all day long and desperately needs some quiet time in the evenings.

 

I crave peace.

 

I want my house to be a peaceful haven for my family.  And, for me, this means that I try to create routines for myself and our household.

 

I don’t know about you, but mornings around my house can get a little crazy!  We all have to be out the door by 6:45 (oh, the life of a teacher!), so that means I have to get three small children fed and dressed before that time!

 

I don’t want my children to look back on their childhood and think, “Man, Mom was always really grumpy in the mornings!”  If I want a calm, peaceful morning, I need to begin the night before.

 

Recently I created an evening routine that is helping me keep my sanity in the mornings.  Here’s how I did it:

 

1. Evaluate Priorities

I identified my top priorities for my evenings.  There are so many things I could do after the children go to bed, but I wanted to make sure I was focusing on the best things to do.

 

I wrote down what my ideal evenings would look like:

 

reading

-preparing for the next day

-having a tidy home

-prayer

-early bed time

 

These became my Evening Priorities.  My non-negotiables.

 

2. Break Down the Priorities

Next I elaborated a bit on those priorities, breaking them down into tasks.

 

Reading–read nonfiction before bed (fiction draws me in more, and then I stay up late!)

Preparing for the Next Day–make lunches, lay out kids’ clothes, lay out my clothes

Having a Tidy Home–load and run dishwasher, sweep kitchen floor, wipe down bathroom

Prayer–family Evening Prayers

Early Bedtime–in bed, lights out by 10:00

 

3. Create a Flexible Evening Routine

I tend to hyperschedule everything down to minute.  However, this often sets me up for failure and frustration.  Because of this, I didn’t want to create an overly detailed schedule (9:00 sweep kitchen floor, 9:05 wipe down bathroom surfaces, etc.).

 

Instead I created a flexible evening routine–a simple order of tasks to complete that made sense to me.

 

Before Kids Go To Bed:

Evening Prayers

Load Dishwasher after Supper

Sweep Kitchen Floor

Lay out Outfits for the next day

 

After Kids Go To Bed:

Wipe Down Bathroom Surfaces

Make Lunches

Work on Blog/ Classroom

Time with Husband

 

Hour or so Before Bed:

Shower

Read a nonfiction book in bed

 

10:00:        

Lights out

 

4. Implement and Evaluate

Finally, I implemented the routine on a “normal” day–one with no choir concert, church services, or evening meetings.  I wanted to get a feel for my evening routine.

 

I plan on giving myself a good two weeks to try to create a habit.  I would like for my routine to become second nature.  After the two weeks, I will evaluate my progress and the routine itself.  Is it feasible?  Does the order need to change?  Is it helping create that peaceful home that I desire?  Are my mornings less harried?

 

I hope that by creating an evening routine, I can get the introvert time that I need and the peace I crave.
I would love to hear about your evening routines!  What do you do in the evenings?  Have you tried a routine?  What has worked (or not worked) for you?

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82 thoughts on “Creating an Evening Routine

  1. First of all, I love your tip on only reading fiction at night! So smart! I’ve been known to stay up WAYYYY to late reading 🙂

    It’s so funny that you posted this today, because I just printed out my new evening routine last night! I also set mine up in categories of before kids are in bed/after kids are in bed, etc.

    I think we are on the same wavelength! 🙂
    Amanda recently posted…My Best Highchair Cleaning TipsMy Profile

  2. I have dogs and they are so much easier than kids. The biggest wrench in my morning is when Scout doesn’t want to go outside and he’s curled up in a cute ball of adorableness and it takes me forever to get the motivated to disturb 72# of sweet puppy.

    Otherwise, a routine is what saves me most days and evenings and the dogs understand the routine.

    I’m always in awe of parents. I honestly don’t know how you do it, but I’m glad that you do 🙂
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…How to Make Your Own Smoked Dog Treats or Buy the Best OnesMy Profile

    • That is one big puppy! I have no problem figuring out the routine with kids, but I don’t think I could add a pet into the mix! My kids are wanting one, so we’ll see what happens….

  3. For as long as I can remember I’ve had an evening routine and I find it’s not only a great way to end my day, but makes my mornings easier as wel. I’m a particular stickler on the kitchen tidying–I never want to wake up to a mess.

    I was raised with routine and I’ve always believed that schedules and consistency make for happy and secure lives for children–they know what to expect and what is expected of them. I don’t have children, but those close to me that I’ve seen raised with routines are much more grounded, it seems.

    Thanks for sharing your evening routine!

    • I completely agree that routines are helpful for children. As a teacher and a mom, I have certainly found this to be true. When kids know what to expect, they are more relaxed, happy, and better behaved.

    • I’m sorry that you’ve had a bad experience with evening routines so far! Finding what works for you in your situation is what is important, though. A few years ago I tried to follow the evening routine of a blogger that I really admired and failed miserable. I am having more success this time, however, because I am being a little more realistic about my own life situation.

    • It’s easy to get overwhelmed, isn’t it? I try to make a list of what I want to accomplish in the evenings with an amount of time for each activity. So, last night I planted my herb garden and weeded (30 minutes), folded laundry (30 minutes), sat on the porch and read with my husband (one hour), and then began my evening routine (one hour). This helped me to be productive, plan for quality time with my husband, while still being in bed by 10.

    • I am really a stickler about consistent schedules (including bedtimes) for my kids. But, I find that getting enough sleep totally helps with their attitude and behavior the next day.

  4. Your desire for a comforting routine is such a ‘chic’ thing — we seem to have that nesting instinct built in! My comforts include a warm bath, candles, things that smell good, hot tea and a cozy bed. But, like you, I think the best part of the evening is the quiet time.
    Kimberly
    http://FiftyJewels.com
    Kimberly recently posted…You’re BrilliantMy Profile

  5. Wow, how do you get out the door by 6:45??? I struggle with getting my 2 year old and I out by 8! Instead of evening routines I aim to complete 3 most important tasks for the day, which sometimes ends up as my evening routine! We have a little family prayer at my daughters bed time which is a really lovely aspect of our evenings.
    Ruth Meaney recently posted…Pumpkin Buttermilk SconesMy Profile

    • Isn’t it funny how each family is so different! We have to be out of the door by 6:45 so I can get to work, so that isn’t the tough part for me. What can be tough is not slamming on my snooze button!

  6. I have a new puppy – so my routine is anything but normal, or scheduled. I liked how you selected activities that you enjoy (reading) to assist with what I call my “slow-down” period. Reading would probably keep me up – but I am a huge music person, so I’m trying to relax with my IPad a few minutes before I turn out the lights. Thanks for all the suggestions, soon Jaxson will be a little older and my life can return to the way it was #sortof Then I will definitely return to this post and try to implement some of your suggestions.
    GROOVY GOLDENDOODLES recently posted…THE MONTH OF MAYMy Profile

    • Congrats on your new puppy! Whenever I have a big life change, I know that my routine goes out the window. So, I’m impressed that you’re even thinking about one! I like the idea of a “slow down” period. I try to turn off technology at 9 so I can be relaxed and asleep by 10.

    • I’d be curious to know what an evening routine might look like for a person who isn’t quite so Type A as I am! I wonder how different personality types organize their time differently. Interesting thought!

  7. Sarah, I’ve been reading your blog a bit recently. Congrats on being featured on Blogelina! As for this post, wow, I am always thinking of my morning routine. What a great perspective to include a list for the evening. I do that somewhat but it’s not as well planned out. Love this and will try it!

    Also, I like how you include the Lord, prayer and family time. We’d miss the boat if those things didn’t happen. Blessings! (Oh and I’m with you on tidiness that just makes me feel more relaxed!)
    Kelly Cox recently posted…The Peony Project & My Recent Guest Post!My Profile

  8. What an inspiring post! My priorities sound a lot like yours – but I really need to work on getting to bed earlier! My daughter and I are out the door by 6.30am – but, it’s my 16 year old who is the grouchy one – I think I need to get her to adopt these priorities – though I think I might have a hard time with the tiding the home part 😉
    Shashi at RunninSrilankan recently posted…The UPS Store’s Small Business Salute & GiveawayMy Profile

    • It’s hard to get out the door so early, isn’t it?! And, I don’t always do it well. This morning I just HAD to have an extra 10 minutes of sleep (or so I thought), and I paid for it by rushing much more than I’d like!

  9. Great ideas! I love breaking “to-do’s” down into more detailed pieces. Being flexible is important too, so you can change things up when needed without feeling like you failed. Thanks for sharing.

    • That’s a great point, Lori. When I have more detailed parts of my goal, I can see which part in particular isn’t working and change that. Then I don’t feel like the whole endeavor was wasted.

  10. My children are grown now but when they were little I did the same thing it was vital to stay on a schedule to keep the chaos down. I need peace too so that made it even more important. I love how you laid it out like you did. It will help so many people and when the kids have a good morning at home they will have an even better day at school.
    Rena mcDaniel recently posted…INCONTINENCE MIDLIFE’S DIRTY LITTLE SECRETMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement, Rena! I’d be interested to know what an evening routine is like for people whose kids have grown. It’s hard for me to imagine right now, but I know it will happen much sooner than I think!

  11. I pray you are blessed in this endeavor. I would benefit to have more structure, but I find myself getting involved in so many activities…church, soccer games & practices for 5 kids, drama practice, and having time to spend with our immediate family and extended family.
    With summer coming, we don’t have as much to do and I am grateful. We will be catching up on things.

    • I love the pace of summer! My kids are still very young right now, so I know I should cherish these simple, relaxing evenings while I have them 🙂

  12. I love this idea! I have recently begun implementing a morning routine, and have slowly been building upon it. It actually makes me want to get up in the mornings now! Routines are wonderful things that are so often overlooked. An evening routine is the next thing on my agenda, but I want to make sure to get my morning routine down first. 🙂
    Melody Maynard @ Joyfully Ever After recently posted…Making the HomeMy Profile

    • I would love to hear about your morning routine! I am working on that next. Since I need to do so much prep in the evening to make my mornings run more smoothly, I decided to focus on the evenings first. I love seeing how different things work for different people!

  13. We have somewhat of a routine that works good. 🙂 My husband works late so isn’t home until 7 every night, some times later depending on traffic, so then we all have dinner and the smalls get ready for bed around 8. Then at 8.30 my oldest goes up and gets ready for bed while we are putting the smalls to bed, telling bedtime story and singing. Once they are asleep we go in and say goodnight to our oldest. 🙂

    What I have noticed *a lot* is that if I leave the telly on after it’s 1h before bed, then bedtime becomes challenging. If I turn off the telly at least 1h before bed time and they are only allowed to play or read etc, sort of shutting the brain down a bit, bed time goes far better. 🙂

    Thanks for your tips!
    ERFmama recently posted…It’s a dancing monkey bum!My Profile

  14. This was a great post and really encouraging for me! I struggle to be focused and productive after the kids are in bed. I want to relax, but there are things that need to get done and I tend to lose track of the evening, then end up staying up way too late! I like your simple, flexible plan based on your priorities! I’ll have to sit down and think through my own evening priorities and plan 🙂
    Bethany recently posted…FREE Logic Puzzles!My Profile

  15. I generally try to have the dishes and some laundry done before I go to bed each night, but we have been so busy lately with evening activities. We always have Kung Fu (2 classes for 2 different children) twice a week and now we have baseball, t-ball, cub scouts, and gardening club. When activities double up on the same night, it’s tough to get everything done. Baseball, t-ball, scouts, and gardening club will be over in about 3 weeks and I look forward to normal evenings again. School will be out then to and I look forward to less running around all together. I love all of these activities and I am glad that our boys can be a part of them, but they have one very tired Mom. (My husband is finishing his dissertation and applying for teaching positions at several Universities so I am flying solo most of the time.) Summer can’t come fast enough.

    • Faith, we have a similar situation! My husband is also finishing his dissertation. It sounds like your kids much be a little older than mine, though. You have very busy evenings!

    • I hope you do find one that works for you, Betsy! And, introverts like us definitely need some peace and quiet to recharge. I think that recognizing that quality about yourself is really important. For years I wondered why I got so crabby by the end of the day. Then I realized that all of my energy had been drained by interacting with people all day. Once I made myself have some quiet time each evening, I was much happier!

    • Jennifer, I definitely hear you about blogging taking over the evening. I also blog at night after my kids go to bed. Since mine go to bed early right now, I can still get in quite a bit of work if I am focused. I have found that I need to turn off my computer by 9 if I want to fall asleep well. Giving myself a “technology bedtime” has been helpful so that I have a limit to the amount of blogging work I do each night. It’s never ending, isn’t it?!

  16. Looks like you’ve got it all down! I have a problem with a toddler that is in between giving up his nap and if I drive anywhere in the afternoon he sleeps at the wrong time and then won’t go to bed when I want him to at night!
    Heather recently posted…#JoziMeetup thoughts….My Profile

    • I definitely don’t have it all down, but I hope that I’m making progress in the right direction 🙂 I remember that toddler phase. My oldest also went through a time where bedtime was my least favorite part of the day. My youngest two aren’t there yet, but I have a feeling that may be coming soon. Keep pushing on–it does get better!

  17. Oh gosh, I’m the worst at routines, so I’m probably a bad person to ask these questions to, ha ha. 🙂 I do try to have a routine/schedule, I really, really do, but I always fall back into a much more relaxed “whatever ends up happening best” type of life. sigh.

    However, I’m super curious as to what you teach! (I need to go look at your About Me page; you might already have something posted about it) Grade? Subject? I’m a teacher too, though I’m only tutoring at the moment, but I’ve taught middle school math.

    It’s nice to meet you and congrats on your new blog AND being Blogelina’s featured blogger this week!

    • Thanks so much, Ronni! I teach 7th grade Language Arts, so I really, really love to read 🙂 I have been teaching middle school for eight years and have taught different subject areas. Glad to meet a fellow middle school teacher/blogger!

    • I am also hugely grumpy in the morning if I don’t get enough sleep. For me this means 8 hours, so I have to go to bed pretty early. The same is true for my kids, so I’m a stickler for bedtimes!

        • Ha! Thanks, Wendy! I am planning on writing a post about my morning routine next week. I am sure that getting all of us out the door will get more difficult as our children get older and have more definite opinions about things. Right now they are pretty content to have the same thing for breakfast each day, let me pick out their clothes, and in general follow my lead. I have a hard time imagining teenagers who would do the same!

  18. I just found you through the Blogelina site!
    This is a great post! I agree that having a routine makes all the difference in the world. I am trying to stick with an evening routine and a morning routine. That consistency and having a set number of things I do each morning and evening is so helpful. I haven written down both routines and posted them up in my office as a reminder each day of what I need to do.

  19. I think it is so true how you said focus on the best things to do in the evening. This really spoke to me because at night it is the only time I get to myself. And I need my own peace so that I can start the next day peaceful. But some nights I find myself wondering here or there and then waking up in the morning frustrated that I didn’t focus on the best things to do! I love a good routine! It really does make a difference! Thanks for sharing this!

    • Tasia, I have found that placing the emphasis on the best things for me really helps me focus in on what I actually want. There have been times where I have tried to follow the evening or morning routine of other people, and it really hasn’t worked out well for me. Each person and each family is different!

  20. These are some excellent ideas. My kids are older now, so I don’t have too much to do at night. My youngest is 17. But I’ll tell you, I miss them being little sometimes. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jody, I know that the time will fly by much quicker than I think! My kiddos are little enough right now that they go to bed quite early (before 7). So, I am fortunate to have a lot of time in the evening. I am sure things will be changing very soon!

  21. I definitely agree that having a night routine makes those groggy mornings so much easier! The biggest thing that has helped is making sure that lunches are packed right after dinner…I mean, we need to store the leftovers anyway, so why not just put them in two containers for my husband and I so lunch is ready to go? This has alleviated so much stress.

    We also spend some time reading the Word together after dinner. It helps us transition from the busyness of the day into some quiet time in the evening. It’s wonderful!

    Thanks for sharing your ideas…I hope you can start some good habits, and even if it takes more than two weeks, remember to have grace with yourself so that you don’t feel even MORE stressed 🙂
    Alex Guglielmo recently posted…When marriage is hardMy Profile

    • We also make our lunches in the evenings. I would hate to be frantically packing a lunch at 6 in the morning. It would make me feel rushed from the get-go!

  22. I am an empty nester now, but our evenings were always crazy while my daughter was in high school. Between Irish dance classes, youth group, home Bible study, we were on the go until 10 PM every single weeknight. Now that it is just the two of us, things are much easier, but I do miss that hectic pace because it meant my girl was home with me. 🙂

    One thing I must do in the evenings is put everything I need by the front door, or I WILL forget it. Fact of my life.

    BTW, your comment about reading non-fiction is right on target! I’m the one that has been known to sit on the floor of the bathroom at 3 AM with earphones to finish an audiobook. Not good for sleep habits, lol! I also find that it is better for me to read paper books vs. ebooks at night because something about the e-reader wakes me up.
    Wendy recently posted…Courage, Purpose, Bitterness, & Other Life Lessons From “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” Part 2My Profile

    • Wendy, I think you are right on about turning off the e-reader in the evening. I try to turn off technology by 9 so that I can be asleep by 10. I find that I need that hour to unwind. And, great tip about putting everything by the door! We usually have our kids backpacks, etc. by the door each morning to help eliminate the “where is my….” panic!

  23. Sarah, this is wonderful! I’m always in mom-mode and am concentrating on the evening routine for the kids, but not myself. I love how it’s detailed, but not too detailed, as that can put too much pressure on to ‘stay on task’. So many parts of this post I felt like you were speaking my language. I crave peace as well, and I know that starts with ME setting the tone. Great idea to start the night before. One thing we’ve done consistently is early bed times for our kids. If it’s not time to sleep yet, we call it bedroom time. It’s time for them AND us to have some downtime and unwind. My husband and I are not night owls, so it’s important for us to have that time to connect. Another helpful thing we’ve done is train our kids to do some of the things you’ve listed, like wiping down bathrooms, making their lunches, and sweeping the floor (no, it’s not perfect). That takes some pressure off me of ‘doing’ stuff and frees me to spend time with them. I’m really going to make an effort though to implement some of the things you listed. Thank you!!
    Chellie recently posted…Pasta with Roasted TomatoesMy Profile

  24. I love this. I’m very much a routine person. I also like to write things down so I should sit down like you did and figure out my before-bed priorities. It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing, and now I know I need to do it. Thank you for sharing.
    Jennifer S. recently posted…Frogs, Reading and DepressionMy Profile

  25. This is a great post! I definitely need to follow the advice of preparing for the next day the night before! It’s a goal that is not often followed through on, but when I do, it makes our mornings a breeze! I’ll definitely start incorporating some more of these tips! Thanks for posting this!
    Megan recently posted…The Daniel Plan: A BeginningMy Profile

    • You’re very welcome, Megan! In our case it’s a pure necessity! We often slack off on prepping the night before during the summer time when we don’t have to be out of the house by 6:45 🙂

  26. Hi Sarah,
    I enjoyed your tips on how you created an evening routine! I work from home, and I am constantly trying to create a schedule that works for my family and me. After 4pm is the most difficult time for me to schedule. I think I am also trying to micromanage the time and always get disappointed, because everything seems to take longer than I plan. I also like that you are giving yourself two weeks and then reevaluating. Sometimes I give up on a new schedule without really giving it a chance.
    Nikki recently posted…Part 1 – Crown Molding InstallationMy Profile

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Nikki. I have found that having a general order of events rather than a set schedule helps me out. That way I don’t feel like I’m always running behind!

  27. It’s nice to see you adding a little bit of ‘me’ priority in here! It is so easy to put family and the kids first, last and always but without a bit of grounding for ‘you’ things even for a well organised Mum become hollow and simply a chore to be got through against the clock. I love your reason not to read fiction – how easy it is to bury yourself in the magic of a story (but, go on, treat yourself to fiction once in a while as a sweet treat!)

    Above all be flexible. Like they say in that pirate movie ‘ they are guidelines’ not engraved in inflexible stone. A good routine makes you feel better, and in control. You can relax a bit and enjoy your wonderful family.
    Harvey Button recently posted…Ear Surgery Update for HarveyMy Profile

  28. Hi, Sarah ~ I enjoyed this post! I’ve been working on my morning routine, but I’m not making a ton of progress. I just realized yesterday that, even though it sounds upside down, I need to work on my evening routine first. I can’t read fiction at night either. I’ve also noticed that a little housework before bed makes a huge difference in our morning. For us, it’s doing the dishes and straightening the main floor. :0) Thanks for sharing!
    Tiffany @ The House Down the Lane recently posted…Fun Favors for a Graduation PartyMy Profile

    • I agree, Tiffany, that the evening routine can really help out the morning one. I’m planning on writing a post this week about my morning routine, which is based in part on what I’ve already done the night before. I’m glad you’re finding things that work for you!

  29. I’m not a mom but I can certainly appreciate a hectic schedule. I seriously need to create evening to-do lists because it’s obvious, I’m a mismanager of time without them. I have great intentions to complete this or that and the next thing I know, time has flown by and nothing has been accomplished. I must do better.

    • You sound busy! I like to create a rough list of what I would like to do, and then immediately cross two things off. I tend to overestimate how much I can get done in a certain amount of time, and then I feel guilty when I can’t do it all. By crossing items off right away, I’m forced to evaluate what I really think is important. It’s been a helpful exercise for me!

  30. Even though I’m an extrovert, I do like a routine and I crave peace as well. I love to have worship and praise music on at night to help calm things down. I clean the kitchen (no dirty dishes in the sink), lay out clothes for the next day, shower, and read my Bible – then lights out. This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.
    Kristine Manley recently posted…17 Ways to Raise Your Child’s Reading LevelMy Profile

    • I love having music on to help create a calm, peaceful mood. Good tip! I’m heading over to check out your post on raising your child’s reading level. I’m a reading teacher, so this is right up my alley 🙂

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