Change can be a scary thing for children of all ages. Unfortunately, in most cases it is unavoidable. Children go through so many changes even within the first years of their lives, they may have to give up a dummy, change from nappies to underwear, they learn new skills and information and have to deal with a range of new conflicts every day.
Few of those changes are within a child’s control. Which is why routine is so important to establish from an early age. Routine allows a child to feel safe and in control when changes occur that are outside of their control.
By offering a routine to a child, you are providing a solid foundation in their lives- so that they can rise to the occasion to handle big changes when they need to.
Many parents are concerned that structure can prevent spontaneity and creativity in children. However, routine actually encourages creativity in some ways, where we can make a comfortable environment for a creative child to thrive.
Benefits of using routines with your kids
1. It can stop arguments
If children know that they have to brush their teeth and pick up toys before bedtime, you don’t have to keep telling them. You just have to refer to the written chart.
2. Routines help kids learn to take charge of their own activities
Over time children learn to do the chores without being asked. Children love being in charge and take pride in having a sense of independence.
3. Regular routines help keep a schedule
Regular routines help kids get on schedule, meaning you won’t be late for the school run again.
4. Routines help establish those connection moments
Routines free up time for you to spend quality time with your child.
How to structure a routine (including free printable)
Write a list of your child’s daily tasks. This can include anything from brushing teeth to making their beds and packing school bags. Try to include your child in these tasks, and ensure that some of these tasks are actually fun activities.
Ensure they are realistic. The idea of having routine is that you will be consistent in enforcing the routine. Consistency is key.
Once you’ve written a list, establish which activities will be daily and which can happen on certain days. You may want to save treats like outings for the weekend. Make sure you include your child’s extracurricular activities in there if they have them. Pop them into the attached chart and stick it to the fridge, or somewhere where it can be seen easily.
Each night, talk to your child about the next day’s activities. Be easy on them though, some days the routine may not be viable- just make sure to get back on track as soon as possible.
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