Monday, February 27, 2023

Why Do Kids Need Routines⁉️

Just like routines can be helpful for adults, they can make a huge difference in our kiddo’s lives today and for their futures. Some of the many benefits found for kids whose families are committed to creating and keeping routines are:

        -Fewer behavioral issues

-Better academic success 

-A better sense of self-regulation 

-A stronger sense of family stability 

-Positive influences on memory and motor skills 

        -As adults, kids are less likely to struggle with time management 

While it’s important to understand all of the positive impacts daily routines can have on our lives, it’s just as important to note that all routines are not created equal. A good routine should be three things: fun, flexible, and boost your child’s or teen’s independence.

 Although it may sound a little counter-intuitive, routines need to be flexible, especially when you have a more sensitive kiddo. Allowing room for changes (in time, place, etc.) and making mistakes will keep your children engaged and committed to sticking to the routines instead of seeing it as a chore or obligation. Also keep in mind that you should avoid using punishments in regards to not following the routine; it’s important to keep the completion of the routine based on positive reinforcement. 

The best way to get your children and teens to want to participate is by making each routine as much fun as possible. Think turning simple things into games or challenges or even just adding music that your kids like into the mix. It’s also important to add leisure things and activities into daily and weekly routines so your kiddo is encouraged to stick to them (family movie night, Sunday mornings in the park, etc.). 

Further, make sure that the routine doesn’t make you, the adult, the main character. The kids need to be involved, and even if it’s the most mundane of tasks, they need to increase their autonomy in order to learn about responsibilities and develop their self-esteem. It’s often easiest to start small with things like brushing teeth, helping to clear the table, putting their dirty clothes in the hamper, putting away their belongings, gathering what they need for their backpacks, putting together their own lunches, etc. 

It’s also essential that the routines are explained to your children or teens and that they’re given context. If your kiddo isn’t able to see why the routine matters or how it fits into their day, they are less likely to want to do it.  

Unsure where to start? It’s often easiest to start by establishing specific, important routine times at home (bedtime, breakfast, etc.). Be prepared to model behavior and be very patient at the start as your kids gets used to the new process. Just as the kids need to be committed to the routines, so do the adults. It’s also helpful to stress the importance of trial and error and make room for adjustments to the things that may work better or worse for your kiddo and family. Lastly, just as we have to be committed to sticking to the routines, we must also be committed to being spontaneous from time to time. This takes the pressure off parents and teaches our kids what flexibility looks like. 

Here are some ideas to begin introducing routines into your household:

For very little ones

-eating meals

-reading a book or story time

-getting ready in the morning

For kids in grade-school

-setting the table

-caring for pets

-doing their homework (think about a specific time, place, etc.)

For teenagers

-cleaning their room

-certain times devoted to studying (daily or weekly)

-attending their extracurricular activities 

Routines not only help organize kids and the whole family, they take some of the stress out of day to day living. Why not reduce the stress where you can!