All families need some type of routine to establish normalcy, a way to get things done and a sense of security.
All families need some type of routine to establish normality, a way to get things done and a sense of security.
Children often fear the unknown, whether it’s a new veggie on their plate or a big life change like moving to a different house or gaining a new sibling.
While change is a learning opportunity, it can also be stressful for children. A normal routine brings safety, comfort and consistency to a child’s life.
Daily routines might include:
- The time to get ready in the morning
- Bath times, mealtimes, naptimes and bedtimes
- Housework, cooking and cleaning schedules
- Playtime, family time and outdoor play
When you include meaningful and important elements into your family life, you’re letting your child know what’s important. The most important aspect is creating a routine that works for you and your family.
Here are our top reasons a daily routine is important for your little one.
It helps your child get on a schedule
- A consistent routine will help your child and their “body clocks” with many day-to-day basics such as:
- Ability to take naps and sleep well at night
- Ability to eat healthy, full meals
- Regular bowel movements
- Healthy play and outdoor time
- Calm, relaxed behaviour at “down times” during the day. For example, because your child and their body know it’s time to sleep, they are more easily able to wind down and rest.
- Helps with Sibling and family bonding
When a child knows what to expect and notices regular family activities, they begin to understand what’s important. This strengthens shared values, beliefs and interests.
The child, for example, might notice that eating breakfast together on Saturday mornings is important. They can see that family time together is special. Even if your child is young, they will pick up on these traditions. The family bonds together by doing regular, important things together.
Rather than having a power struggle about picking up toys at the end of the day or taking a bath, a child becomes accustomed to knowing when “pick up time” and “bath time” are.
Children begin to expect and complete activities without issue. As the parent, you become a partner in that routine, rather than the person who is telling the child to “do this” and “not do this.”
Creates a calmer household
Because the child, and other family members, know what to expect, stress and anxiety are reduced.
The child will know what comes next. They will feel valued because they are included in the plans and don’t feel as if they’re being forced to do something against their will.
Gives your child confidence and independence
With a routine, a child will learn over time when it’s time to brush their teeth or put on their pyjamas. They will take pride in knowing what they are supposed to do – and doing it by themselves.
Rather than always being told what needs to happen, your child will feel confident to go ahead and be in charge of themselves. When children feel empowered and independent, they are less likely to rebel or retaliate.
Establishes healthy, constructive habits
From brushing teeth regularly to completing homework every afternoon, routines help establish constructive habits.
Children who practice these skills will be able to better manage their time. As they age, they’ll have more self-discipline in terms of healthy grooming and eating habits, along with studying and cleaning their rooms.
Laura Doyle, mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Writer and blogger at www.lovelifeandlittleones.com.