Happiness for my adopted children is routine and structure

Happiness for my adopted children is routine and structure

Christmas is over and we’re back into our routine. Our whole family have breathed a huge collective sigh of relief. We’ve gone from me wanting to cancel Christmas (it’s been one of our ‘toughest’) to a state of almost calm and tranquillity. And I have two seemingly very different children. I still find it hard to comprehend the importance of routine for my adopted children. But it is. And nearly six years of living with us, happiness for my adopted children is routine and structure.

Take a look at this picture. My kids are happy and they are feeling calm. They know what’s happening. We are going swimming.

When we lived in Paris, we didn’t have school on Wednesdays. You would think, living in Paris, a school free day what fun, excitement and adventures we could have. But no. Not my kids. My kids wanted the same thing every Wednesday.

  • Wake up just a little later than usual
  • Breakfast – Weetabix, yoghurt, pain au choclat, and orange juice
  • A bit of TV
  • Finish homework
  • Cook with mummy
  • Lunch
  • Play
  • Swimming
  • Home
  • Relax
  • Dinner
  • Bath
  • Bed
  • Repeat next Wednesday

But don’t all kids love routine?

Sure, all children love a bit of routine in their lives.

But my adopted kids, they thrive on routine and structure. If we go out of sequence, there’s an unexpected change then I know we could be heading to towards a tantrum or two.

For my adopted children routine and structure keep their self-regulation in check.

Does life get a bit boring?

Yup, life can get a little boring. Sure there were days when I felt, let’s be spontaneous, let’s see a  gallery, take a river trip down to the Seine.

But I prefer boringness, humdrum, the mundane of routine to tantrums, raging, shouting, screaming, hitting and scratching.

Are school holidays for adopted children tough?

Yes, school holidays are tricky.

I’m a big fan of holiday play schemes, it keeps the routine and structure going through the holidays. They have been my holiday lifeline for the last not quite six years.

My adopted children, they just want to go to the same place, every day and do the same thing.

How do you cope with your adopted children when going away on holiday?

And going on holiday, during the holidays, can be even more problematic and traumatic.

We’ve learned not to stay in hotels (unless it’s the Premier Inn because it’s a five-star hotel, and has amazing breakfasts as reviewed by Wonder Boy and Super Girl) and we book apartments or cottages.

The kids are getting better, but we still have to take our daily routine with us.

  • Same wake-up times
  • Regardless of country, always have the same cereal for breakfast, cornflakes or Weetabix
  • And the same bed-times

But we have made some progress. So long as we have one fixture each day during our holidays, we can just about free-wheel the rest of the day. Unless it’s skiing, then we are on to a winner because a ski holiday is the same thing every day.

This is a huge achievement for my adopted children.

For my adopted children, happiness is routine

I think I am starting to get it. In our family, happiness, tranquillity, calm is all about having a routine and sticking to it.

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