What you do isn't as important as doing whatever you do consistently. Allowing your children to know that they can count on you, regardless. If this means Skyping the bedtime story because you are out-of-town on business, then that's what it means. If you have a busy week, get the afterschool snacks ready in advance. If you have a late football game, baths are still taken in order.
Routine is security. Tradition bonds families. Ritual creates comfort. Start out slow, and get one ritual down pat before you introduce another. These habits, particularly ones like studying the scriptures together or praying together, will likely be embraced and carried on when your children have their own families. They may roll their eyes now, but it will be important for them to know they can depend on these routines throughout their childhood.
Bedtime routines are particularly helpful. Have a checklist and go over it with your child. A good night's sleep in invaluable and developing sound sleep patterns is a lifetime achievement.
Checklist might include:
Take a vitamin.
Go to the bathroom.
Get a drink of water.
Read a story.
Five minutes of "How was your day?" or "Anything you want to talk about?"
Tuck in like a burrito. My kids loved this and requested it. You pull the covers up to their chin and then with karate chop hands, tuck the covers under them beginning at their shoulders and all the way down to their feet until they are wrapped like a burrito.
"I love you like crazy." Or, "Sweet dreams." Or, "Don't let the bedbugs bite!"
This is one ritual you will be thankful for if you develop it. Well-rested children are happy children. Following the checklist will cut back on the frustration of excuses to get out of bed. Here are some more ideas on how to ease your family into a routine.
Start now, even if your kids are older, with one ritual and let them know that they can count on it. Then add another. Build these routines and watch the love and security grow.