Saturday, 30th September 2023

Help your child get into routine

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
10 June 2023   |   4:48 am
Kids thrive on routine because it gives them a sense of predictability in their lives. Routines can help them feel like they have their needs met on a regular basis.

Child Routine

Kids thrive on routine because it gives them a sense of predictability in their lives. Routines can help them feel like they have their needs met on a regular basis.

With a back-to-school schedule for kids, they are able to depend on the sense of security they feel in a familiar way with their other routines. When it comes to daily habits like sleeping and eating, most parents have probably had some kind of routine in place since their children were infants.

As children grow, new activities pop up, new patterns emerge and new habits form. When regular routines are in place, kids can handle these changes with less stress.

To take the hassles out of morning, evening and after-school transitions, here are some tips for developing routines to create smoother days.
Firstly, ask your child what they feel are the most important things to do. Talk together about what is working and what is not. Find out what the hardest parts of the morning are for them.

When you include a child in the process of creating a routine, he or she is an active participant in it, rather than feeling like tasks are being imposed upon him or her. He or she has a sense of ownership in the process and are more likely to initiate the steps on his or her own.

Make a visible schedule. For everyday routines in which a lot of steps are involved, such as getting ready in the morning, after school responsibilities or going to bed at night, it can be helpful to have a chart or a list.

Having something tangible to post like a family command centre on the wall is a handy reminder of what needs to be done every day without a parent having to nag.

Keep the chart simple and let it include the necessities without making the routine an overwhelming chore. Older children may do well with simply a written checklist on the back of their bedroom door or on the mirror in the bathroom. Young children do well with images or photos posted at their height so they can picture themselves completing each step of the routine.

Having the back-to-school routine posted is an easy reminder of what needs to happen. So, rather than direct kids through their tasks each day, refer to the chart or checklist to encourage them to take initiative for their daily habits.

This will not only prevent parents from nagging, but also the child is able to start thinking proactively. Encouraging kids to take charge of their own routines gives them a much-needed sense of personal responsibility and self-sufficiency. They begin to take the lead in taking care of themselves.

It is important to make connection part of your routine. Instead of starting your day with a flurry of activities and a rush to get out the door, try starting it with a few minutes of one-on-one time with your child. Often, this can make the difference between a morning of resistance and a morning of cooperation.

Waking up just 10 minutes earlier to cuddle, talk or read together in your child’s favourite chair starts the day from a place of harmony and connection.

You let your child know that he or she is important, and that in that moment, you don’t have anywhere else to be – not work, not school, just right there in the moment with him or her. Then he or she feels closely connected to you and much more ready to face the day.

To further foster connection and ease, avoid screen time in the morning. Once kids get involved in a show or electronics, it’s often difficult to get them to shut down and go. If your children are ready early, encourage them to play or read until time to leave.