Parent Tip: Importance of Family Routine
Posted: August 07, 2018
With the long, lazy days of summer drawing to a close and the new school year upon us, it’s time to return to the days of routines and schedules, especially for our kids. Good routines help to organize life and keep it from becoming too chaotic, give kids a sense of security, and help them develop self-discipline. Children do best when routines are regular, predictable and consistent (and so do adults!).
Because one of a family's greatest challenges is to establish comfortable, effective routines, we have a few tips:
Put as many things in order as possible the night before.
Keep wake-up routines cheerful and positive.
Be sure your child eats breakfast, even if he or she is not hungry in the morning.
Finally, round out each morning by saying goodbye to your child. A simple hug and a wave as he or she heads out the front door or slides out of the car will give your child a positive feeling to begin the day.
Routines as simple as eating dinner together and talking through your day improve children's health and also increase their academic performance. It also improves the respect and communication of all family members.
Scheduling times for homework, chores and practices before fun and play teaches kids the importance (and rewards!) of hard work first.
On school nights, children need a regular time to go to sleep. Nighttime rituals can help ease a child to sleep. These rituals can include storytelling, reading aloud, conversation, listing things you’re grateful for and singing songs. Children with regular bedtime routines get to sleep sooner and wake up less frequently during the night than those with less regular routines.
Kids love being in charge of themselves and this feeling increases their sense of mastery and competence (confidence). Over time, kids learn to brush their teeth, pack their backpacks, etc., without constant reminders (discipline). Kids who feel more independent and in charge of themselves have less need to rebel and be oppositional (respect).
The end result: a family with healthy habits, where everything runs more smoothly! We all know that we need to connect with our children every day, but when our focus is on moving kids through the schedule to get them to bed, we miss out on opportunities to connect. If we build little connection rituals into our routine, they become habit.