Five Benefits to Getting Your Child Back to Following Routines

Author: one tough job

You may miss sleeping in or the relaxing of rules when your kids return to school—but summer can also be exhausting. Not having to plan fun things every weekend or entertain your kids while they’re not in camp or daycare may give you time to breathe. Routines have proven benefits for children’s development and can bring you all moments of relief and a sense of safety. Here are five great benefits of building routines with your kids.

1. School success and readiness

Routines result in better attention and decision-making skills, thus preparing your child to focus on school and manage their time. Start to ease into morning and bedtime habits now to help make the start of the school year more enjoyable and successful for you and your kids. Creating schedules around breakfast, chores, and homework will help your child form an understanding of time and priorities.

2. Minimize talking back /conflict

Your job as scheduler and rule enforcer will feel much easier if your kids become familiar with the daily or weekly responsibilities now. Create a set time for activities like brushing teeth and eating breakfast.

Older kids will be less likely to push back when you say: “it’s time to brush your teeth now,” while younger kids may take your rules and timeline very literally and seriously. They may even tell YOU if dinner or bedtime occurred at the wrong time or be especially ready to remind you if you forget to read their favorite story.

Daily schedules allow you to build in that treasured time to relax.

3. Decrease the fear of the unpredictable

Daily schedules allow you to build in that treasured time to relax. Your child will also feel safe and benefit from knowing what comes next—regardless of other stressful or unpredictable events occurring in their world. The unknown can make us all feel a bit uneasy sometimes, but predictable customs that we can turn to all year will help make life feel a little more consistent.

Try using visual outlines or this fun calendar to put on the fridge for younger children. Older kids may want to design a more in-depth schedule that incorporates some words. You can also sit down with them to think about how to change the schedule when an event arises or when they join a new activity or team. This will be simpler if they have been used to following a daily and weekly routine.

4. Make breaking the schedule easier

Having a schedule will make it even easier for you to change the routine every once in a while. Yes, this does seem counterintuitive, but if kids get comfortable with their daily routine, it will seem like a fun reward when you take them to get ice cream after dinner on a weeknight or allow them to watch a movie when their teacher gives them a no homework pass. They may enjoy creating a new picture to put on the visual calendar to mark their exciting day.

Make sure these breaks in the routine don’t happen too often but know that some change can help your kids manage unexpected changes in the future.

5. Benefit children beyond childhood

Routines and schedules during your children’s younger years result in a greater ability to manage time and be thoughtful about daily chores and tasks as they grow older. This will have benefits in school, life, and beyond. Help them learn how long certain activities take and how they might tackle planning their own routine in addition to how they might adapt if something unpredictable occurs.

Have fun starting a routine with your kids today. PBS Kids has some great resources such as this Plan Your Day Coloring Book and other Daily Routine Charts and Articles. Zero to Three has other great advice about The Practical Magic of Daily Routines and ways to get started. The benefits will be well worth it for your piece-of-mind and your child’s success!

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