Children need steady routines so they know what their days will be like, which will result in them being more agreeable in daily life. Happy children make happy parents! Here are some reasons why your kids (and you!) need to stick to routines.
1. Routines eliminate anxiety and provide security.
It’s a cliche that kids ask questions like “Are we there yet?” or “When will we do this?” over and over and over again, but they’re asking this because they want to know what’s coming next. It might be hard to hear the same thing all day, but indulge your child and answer them when they ask. If your child knows what is going to happen every day, they won’t be in the dark about what’s to come. Knowing what to expect helps decrease anxiety children might have about uncertainty in their lives.
2. Routines relieve stress.
Admit it: even as an adult, knowing what to expect makes you feel less stressed. Knowing how your day will go makes everything seem easier. This goes for children as well, especially since kids don’t know as much about the world as adults. Trying a new vegetable can be just as scary as a major life change, since both things are unknown to a child! Anything you can do to establish a routine and help reduce stress for your child will make life easier on them.
3. Routines improve cooperation.
If a child knows they need to be ready to go to school at the same time every day, they’re more likely to cooperate and get dressed on time. Remind your child periodically: “In thirty minutes, we’re going to leave for school.” “In ten minutes, we’re going to leave for school.” This will give them advanced notice and they can start managing their time. It will help them learn how to transition from one activity to the other with less interruption and behavioral outbursts. This habit will also transfer to other events, so they’re more likely to cooperate when it’s time to go to the doctor, or other less exciting tasks.
4. Routines get things done.
Having a routine ensures that your child will complete everything they’re supposed to do. If they wake up at the same time every day, they will have time to make their bed before coming down for breakfast. After breakfast, they will get dressed for school and make sure their homework is packed in their backpacks. Without this routine, your child (and you!) would be rushed every morning. You might not have time for breakfast, and your child’s homework might be left on the dining table. Routines like this help your child take responsibility for himself.
5. Routines build self-confidence.
Have you ever noticed how your child straightens up when you praise him? If he has routines set up, he can accomplish more tasks on his own. He can do his own things while you do yours, and then you can compliment him when he’s done. This also helps establish responsibility. This means not only does he have more freedom, but so do you!
6. Routines teach organization.
Children having routines at bedtime or for putting things away teaches them that organization helps life run more smoothly. Unlike kids who grow up in chaotic, rushed, messy homes, your child will always know exactly where to find their belongings, and when they need to find them.
7. Routines can be flexible.
Don’t establish so many routines that your children feel overwhelmed and kept in a box. Let them leave the dishes in the sink one night to stay up and watch a movie with the family. Don’t be so strict they act out or feel like they don’t have freedom, but also don’t be so lax that they know you’re a pushover if they hit the right buttons. There’s a careful balance that ensures your children will benefit from set routines.