Tips to Create Your Home Routine
Children often need consistent schedules to help them stay on track at home and at school. A review of 50 years of psychological research, recently published in Journal of Family Psychology, shows that even infants and preschoolers are healthier and exhibit better-regulated behaviour when there are predictable routines in the family.1 Not only do routines help keep order and structure in your home, they also help kids thrive and keep them grounded. Routines help children feel safe and secure because they know that certain things happen at certain times. Since routines help children know what’s expected, children are generally more cooperative as a result and through consistent repetition these routines can help build their independence from a very young age right through to college.
Here are some tips on how you can create a routine in your home:
- Routines are your daily habits, the things that you do the same way at the same time.
- Routines should be established when children are young and applied consistently as they grow. But it’s never too late to start!
- Consistency is the key with any new schedule.
- Making a physical reminder of the routine can be a fun way to remember your day-to-day schedule, like a routine chart on the wall or fridge.
- Routines can also be created together as a family (if the children are old enough). The children can have input on the order of a routine item, or they can choose colours or pictures to go on the routine chart. Children may be more likely to use the routine if they participated in the planning process.
- In hectic times, it may seem impossible to provide a structured lifestyle. Everyone is juggling schedules: work, school, recreation, music lessons, basketball practice, and so on. However in these times, structure becomes most important. It provides greater productivity for your child, as well as better health and family relationships.1
- Breaking up your routine into daily chunks is a great way to start
- Morning routines can include waking up time, getting ready, having breakfast and leaving for school/work
- After-school routines can include after school activities, a snack and unwinding time, and/or homework. Every family is different. Take a look at what usually happens when your kids come home from school and include that in the after-school routine.
- Dinner routine can incorporate preparing the meal and getting the table set for dinner. For example: dinner is being prepared, the child sets the table, everyone comes to the table, dinner is served, table is cleared and dishes washed.
- Bed-time routine is the last chunk of the day and it can start off with something relaxing to do after dinner (such as reading a story, some quiet play time, some TV time, a warm bath, etc.). Following this relax period, it is time to get ready for bed. Most parents have some routine before going to bed: brush teeth, wash face, go potty and then change into your pyjamas. This routine can be applied for children as well, and as they get older things will change and the child will be more independent. Next can be some quiet reading in the child’s room and then your goodnight routine: having a quiet conversation about the day, tucking them in bed and saying goodnight.
- Now it’s time to do it again.
Ivonne Lopez is a Family Support Worker at Carizon Family and Community Services.