Children benefit a lot from having a set schedule. A routine can make a child feel like they know what to expect, which can help them feel more confident at home, in childcare, and at school. Consistency in a child’s schedule can be especially important during hard times in his or her life, but it can also offer a sense of security even on normal days.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a child can focus on an activity and learn more when they know what is going on right now and what should happen next. They can build good relationships with the people around them, deal with change better, and become increasingly more independent.
What Makes a Good Routine?
PBS.org says that routines help keep a child safe and healthy and teach them how to act in a responsible way. For instance, you should wash your hands before you eat and look in both directions before crossing the street.
Then, when kids know how to greet people and share toys, for example, they can learn how to get along with others in a good way. Routines can also help a child move from one thing to the next. For example, a relaxing bath help before bedtime.
What is a "good" schedule for your kid?
So, what is a “good” way to live? This depends on the needs and schedules of each family. An Australian site says that a good routine is well-thought-out, consistent, and predictable. When kids are young, their parents plan most of their routines. As they get older, though, they can start to help with the planning.
Routines are regular and predictable because that’s what they are. Still, the best routines often have a little bit of room for change. If not, they can be frustrating instead of meeting the family’s needs.
Understood.org has advice on how to make good habits. Parents need to be realistic about what they can do in a certain amount of time and make a good list of what needs to be done first. If doing homework before dinner is important, but it’s getting hard for a child to finish it on time, think about whether there should be a time before dinner and a time after dinner for homework, assuming that the second time slot is needed.
Make sure your child understands how things work, and give them time to ask questions. Also, be very clear. Putting a list of things to do in writing can help a lot if your child is old enough to follow written instructions. As your kids learn new habits, be sure to praise their hard work.
Here are some tips from the website VeryWellFamily.com. Step by step is the best way to start a new routine. Some kids might do well if you show them pictures of what to do and in what order. For example, there could be a picture of the child packing a lunch and a backpack before brushing their teeth at night.
If you’re going to break the routine—for example, if you’re going to stay up a little later one night for a special event—you should tell your child why. Tell them that this is a one-time thing and that you’ll go back to your normal routine with the family soon. Then go have fun!