Thank you to Go-Magnet for sponsoring this post. All opinions are honest and my own.
With constant schedule changes, rotating shifts, and a lack of consistency, it is really hard to create routines as a law enforcement family. I can’t tell you how many times we have rescheduled something due to my husband’s schedule. We plan ahead as much as we can and have learned to be really flexible. Ultimately, I know I can’t control his schedule and I don’t try to.
So instead, as a family, we focus more on the routines we can create at home. Schedules and consistency at home are much more within our control and it helps my officer slide back into normalcy when he is off duty (as much as possible).
One of the big reasons we focus on routine at home is for our children. Our little ones crave consistency and when we veer off of our routine, it doesn’t always make for a pleasant day.
Some of our routines involve important safety measures that we just can’t forget to ever do.
I think it is really important to have routines as a family, but also individually. That is why I share what my officer does when he gets off shift and when he is off duty. I also include how I manage routines when my husband is working, because it always looks a little different compared to when he is home. And my Type A personality appreciates it 😉
Helpful tips for establishing routines as a law enforcement family:
-As a family:
Use a family calendar or command center to keep the entire family on the same page. Or if your prefer, use a calendar app like Cozi for family organization.
Here is what our command center looks like:
It is nothing fancy, for sure. It has a monthly calendar that I made and we constantly add to it throughout the month. I also use printable stickers I created which help us keep track of what my husband has planned for the day, like: night shift, training, the range, court, etc. You can check those out in my shop. The initials are our kids’ names. 🙂
I think hanging your command center in a central location for all to see works best. We have ours next to the wall of our kitchen because it is a high traffic area in our home.
Talking about your day or week as a family helps to keep everyone on the same page. I know my husband always appreciates the reminders, too. 🙂
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-For my officer:
Just as family routines are important, so are individual routines. Obviously because our spouses are in law enforcement, it is vital to have routines that involve safety. So as soon as my officer comes home, he safely stores his duty weapon, first and foremost. If the kids and I happen to be in the kitchen when he walks in the door, then he may not have had time to make it to the gun safe yet as kids are ready to give out hugs. So he can securely store his duty weapon at the top of fridge for the time being. Then when he is done giving out hugs and hellos to the kids, he can store it in his gun safe. A super safe alternative for him is to use a Go-Magnet.
Go-Magnets are American made and Veteran owned. They are the premier gun magnet on the market and ideal for gun storage and safety. Perfect for safety and out of reach situations, display or hidden storage. They are also SUPER affordable at only $13.99 or you can purchase multi-packs and save.
This gun is positioned on the front of our garage refrigerator while my husband takes his shoes off for work using the Go-Magnet. Once his shoes are off he can simply take it off and store it in his gun safe in our home.
My husband currently has his Go-Magnet attached on the inside of his personal vehicle. If we are traveling then he can put his gun in a safe place using the magnet, out of reach from our children. It is also within arms reach for him as he is usually the driver. It provides great comfort and safety! When we leave the vehicle, he can easily grab his weapon and conceal it on his person. (You know I am a police wife because I say, “on his person”. 🙂 I don’t think I would have ever said that pre-law enforcement days).
We also try to give my husband some down time (about 30 minutes) to unwind after shift. After reading the book, Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement, by Dr. Gilmartin, I realized the importance of doing this. Even though our officer’s are technically home and off duty, it can still take some time for their entire body to sync and return to normal level. So providing my officer some time to relax, eat, shower, and do what he needs to do, truly helps him transition easier into off duty mode.
-For the police wife:
While I try my best to include my officer when he is working, I also keep our family and routines running. I include him as best as I can by sending a video of swim practices, pictures of events we attend, and we check in with him a time or two throughout the day, if possible.
I really enforce our routines, instead of adjusting to our officer’s schedule. If he happens to be home and can join us, then great! But, we don’t sweat it if he can not.
Be sure to routinely build in self-care for yourself, too. I know firsthand how hard this can be. But once I became intentional about making time for myself, I felt much more balanced and less stressed. This definitely involves looking at the calendar in advance and carving out some time to make sure my husband is with the kids.
Our children are at the heart of our routines. We make it a point to go over our routine and plans for the day each morning. In addition, while we help our kids with bedtime routines, we also talk briefly about what they can expect for the following day. Depending on if we are in summer mode or in-school mode, our days can look different, but we keep the same basic routines.
A lot of times our children will ask when daddy will be home. I don’t always have the answer to that question as I am sure you don’t either. Their schedules are never consistent and that’s okay. Instead, we focus on what they want to do with daddy the next time he is off. So I always suggest they draw a picture of how they want to spend time with him on his next day off and they focus on that positive interaction instead.
You can see in this picture that my oldest daughter wants to go to the pool when we have time together as a family next. And we always try really hard to stick to these plans. I also make sure their requests are attainable. 🙂
Making sure your children’s eating and sleeping habits stay as consistent as possible is also super important. It is easy to veer off when our officer’s are off duty and we veer off a bit, too. You obviously want them to have time together, but veering off to an extreme can make it harder to go back to schedule when your officer is working.
What are some of your tried and true ways to stay consistent and on a routine? Share with us in the comments!
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