Routines and set schedules are a part of life, and they are especially important for your children. Set schedules establish normalcy and a sense of security, and lay the foundation for good patterns throughout your child’s life. Parents and preschool organizations like Little Sunshine’s Playhouse who create consistent routines help children develop good habits for eating and sleeping, as well as healthy play and activity behaviors.
Although change is inevitable, it can be stress-inducing for your children, so having a normal routine is essential for maintaining feelings of stability and consistency. Keep reading to find out some tips for establishing a daily routine and learn why it is so beneficial for kids.
Familiarity Strengthens Family Bonds
A consistent routine has been shown to strengthen family bonds. Children who know what to expect and when learn to trust the adults in their lives. A schedule will help your children cultivate a set of values and interests, such as sharing meals and creating family traditions.
Scheduling that involves your entire family strengthens familial bonds as well and reduces anxiety in children. A good example is establishing set times for watching television. If TV watching is reserved for a specific time each day, parents will typically experience less of a struggle with their children when it is time to turn it off. In short, adhering to a set schedule helps your child learn to go with the flow.
Structure Reduces Fear of the Unexpected
Change is unavoidable, but you adapt to change more easily when it is expected. Predictability is key for children, as it helps them feel safe even amidst change. Being able to stick to a routine helps children cope with larger and smaller changes throughout their lives such as starting school, making friends, or learning a new skill.
Developing a routine is also critical for getting through life’s rough times, such as the death of a loved one or moving to a new city. Parents can do things to maintain the routine even in the midst of these changes, which will help give kids a sense of security.
Routines help infants, toddlers, and young children develop skills that assist them in tackling challenges and engaging in new experiences. The skills they learn from structured routines let them know that no matter what happens, they have a degree of control over themselves and their environment. Structured routines also assist children who have freer personalities in learning how to transition from one activity to the next without feeling confined. While schedules need not be extremely rigid, developing a routine of when an activity begins and ends can help your children focus their attention properly and improve productivity. For children who are easily distracted, consider using timers or other cues to help them learn when it is time to stop one activity and begin a new one.
Routines Foster Cooperation
In larger families, routines are practically essential. There will likely be power struggles between parents and kids as well as siblings, so scheduling can help eliminate these power struggles. Younger siblings, in particular, can feel like they are being bossed around by both parents and older siblings, so routines offer one of the only ways for them to feel like their voice is heard. Routines provide structure for the entire family while ensuring younger kids do not feel singled out.
Routines also help your kids learn how to cooperate with others, which reduces anxiety and stress for the entire family. All family members are well aware of what activity is coming next and that all rules apply to everyone. As time goes on, your children will come to understand what needs to be done without needing to be reminded, and this will help them feel more in charge of themselves. This feeling can translate into confidence as they enter school—and it’s a skill that they will utilize throughout their lives.
Routines Increase Safety
Another reason why it’s smart to establish a good routine is to help your kids learn the importance of being responsible. To encourage children to stick to a routine, help them understand why a certain action is important. For example, if you walk your child to school every day, discuss with them why it is necessary to hold your hand while crossing the street. Explain to them in a way they can understand why safety is a top concern and how following a routine and not deviating from it can help them remain safe.
Another great example is the afterschool routines. If you pick your child up every day at the same time, they learn that they are not to go with any other adult, no matter what this adult tells them. This can help them avoid a situation that could potentially be dangerous while giving them a sense of ownership over their own safety.
The repetition of routines is essential for helping children build critical skills that will serve them for a lifetime. Routines give kids a predictable way to manage themselves while also reducing overall stress and chaos in the household.
Interested in learning more about routines and schedules, check out our blog on how they support healthy learning and development here.
To learn more about Little Sunshine’s Playhouse, visit www.littlesunshine.com.