The importance of routine for children
Usually, when the school year ends, so does the routine for many families. If you have let go of the routine, try to pick up again as we approach a new school year. Why? Because a routine for children is extremely important. Having regular meal times, bed times, play times and other planned activities creates a routine that benefits children in the long run. You would be surprised at the benefits that establishing a routine can have on your little one. Children do best when routines are regular, predictable and consistent.
Benefits of having a routine
• A sense of safety and security – children crave routines for the sense of security they get from the repetition and predictability involved in having a routine. They know they will not be confronted with unfamiliar tasks for which they are unprepared.
• Routines also benefit children by boosting their self esteem as they provide opportunities for children to succeed in what they are doing.
• Routines are the only way that children can control their surroundings and know what’s going to happen next in their day. It helps them to develop a sense of mastery in handling their lives. As young children do not understand the concept of time, they order their lives by the events that happen. It makes them understand concepts such as before and after and eventually, learn to manage time. By setting a routine for children, you teach them to manage their time in a way that is efficient and productive.
• By providing your child with an environment in which they feel safe and secure, your child will become more relaxed and open to exploring the world around them.
• Routines eliminate power struggles – rather than fighting and arguing over what needs to be done and having your child feel bossed around, the task just becomes part of an everyday routine that falls into place without argument.
• Your child starts to look forward to doing the things they enjoy and learn to anticipate what’s coming next.
• Routines are a good way for you to teach your child healthy habits like washing their hands, brushing their teeth and exercising.
• Having a chore or job to do as part of their routine helps older children develop a sense of responsibility which will benefit them later in life.
How to have a routine
• Plan meal times
• Have a bed time routine including brushing their teeth, a bedtime story, etc.
• Work with your child to create a visual routine of the plan of the days and hang this somewhere they can see it like on the fridge and in their bedroom
• Be flexible at times – not every single minute of the day needs to go according to time. Learn to be flexible and your child will too – they need to learn to be able to cope with minor changes at times. As good has having a routine is, rules are made to be broken.
• Starting early is good, but not as young as infants – infants tell us what they need and are too young to adapt to our routine.