I remember setting my alarm for school two hours earlier than I needed to get up. This was so I could ensure I had plenty of time to get ready and leave the house knowing I’d not forgotten anything. I was always very organised. Even my school books in my bag would be in height order so I could conveniently see which book I needed easily.

When I left school my time management and organisation skills followed me into my work life. Daily ‘R & Rs' annoyingly were often the highlight of my day. This was something I had control over, it was clear as day how the accessories were to be lined up on the shelf or how the faulty phones were to be sent back to head office etc. (I worked at Carphone Warehouse). It was a routine, a habit, a familiarity, everyone knew what was expected of them to fulfil this task.

I loved the fact it was there in black and white what was expected of me. No hidden agendas, no way to gain anything. The routine was followed and the task was completed, job done!

In 2013 when my beautiful little man was born I tried desperately to put a routine into place to try to ground myself. I was a first time mum with little support throughout the day (Riley’s dad worked 9am – 7pm) and no support from any family. I was clueless and felt everything I had learned throughout my life was the opposite of the life skills I needed to nurture a baby.

It took me a good few months before I managed to put a solid routine into place. I remember drawing charts and time schedules to try to follow, but it wasn’t easy. Turns out children aren’t as easily tamed as paperwork!

Four years later, with an additional little madam in the family, and the routine is still going strong and very much followed every day without fail.

I personally have always loved a list since leaving work to care for my son. It’s something clear that shows me what the agenda is for that day and it gives me perspective on what’s expected of me. It helps free up space in my mind so I don’t get too overwhelmed and stressed out with what I need to do because it’s all written down.

The same goes for the children. They know the moment they wake up it's time to get dressed. They then know we head downstairs for breakfast, etc. It's habit, something familiar for them both, a way of managing and coping with life.

My four year-old son Riley was diagnosed as severely autistic in June 2015 and has been very recently diagnosed with Cowden Syndrome also. Routine is especially important for him, so much so I have a visual timetable for him so he can see the day ahead using pictures and symbols.

Riley is pretty easy-going most of the time and if something changes in the routine he’s pretty relaxed as long as I have supplies i.e. iPad and crisps! A routine can’t be strictly followed all the time unless you’re happy not having a social life (which I in fact don’t have) but having a guideline helps. My children are so used to bedtime at 7pm that if we are out I will snuggle them in my arms or the buggy with a blanket and they will happily go to sleep.

I don’t know about you but I live by our routine. It helps me to plan and get organised for the week ahead. Everyone knows what’s expected of them and when, it’s a stress reducer!

 Here’s our routine if you wanted to have a peek:

  • 7:00 – 8.30: Wake up! (No later than 9am on a non-school day)
  • 8:00 – 9:00: Breakfast at the table
  • 9.15 – 1.15: Preschool
  • 1.30 – 4:00: TV, iPads, garden, toys at home etc.
  • 4:00 – 5.30: Dinner
  • 6:00:Bath/wash and stay in bedrooms
  • 7:00: Lights out after CBeebies
  • 7:00 – 9:00: Muck around with toys and books etc, until finally dozing off!

Do you have a specific routine you follow?

I would certainly give one a go if you don’t, even if you introduce it a bit at a time.

I couldn’t imagine life without something set in stone like this. With all the joys, worries, appointments, ups, downs, chores, tantrums of life and parenthood, knowing what time dinner is or when bedtime is, is the least of my worries. Come 7pm I know the kids are clean, safe and on their way to Noddyland and I can have some ‘me’ time. By ‘me’ time, you all know that means catching up with the clothes washing, washing the dishes and putting the toys away…but in peace!

Read more of Clare's blogs at www.clarelee.co.uk