Daily routines are vital for maintaining the physical, mental and emotional health of children and families.A strong daily routine can form deeper ties between all family members and promote harmony, as well as creating a sense of comfort and belonging.An effective routine is well planned, caters to children of different age groups, is applied consistently and is highly beneficial during good times and in times of challenge and uncertainty.
1- Rise and shine
Children of all ages need sufficient sleep. Establish a familiar sleep routine from an early age and adapt the hours as the children grow, but ensure that children are getting the sleep they need.Young children need sleep to grow and thrive, to develop their immune system and to continue smiling and being their charming selves. Be patient and make an effort to set a sleep routine from an early age, as it will benefit the baby, and even give you some precious moments of peace and relaxation in the long run.
Sleep time can follow storytime. Reading to children every night before bed improves a child’s literacy, strengthens the bond between the child and the parent, and helps them to relax before sleeping. It can also be used as motivation.‘You must brush your teeth before you can read a book’ is a popular refrain among parents. Remember also; everybody loves being read to, so continue this routine as your children grow, or have them read to you.
3- Splash, splash!
Bath times promote health and hygiene, and for young children can even be turned into fun. It is also vital that older children and teenagers continue this daily habit.Even though teenage boys seem to take pride in seeing how long they can last without tasking a wash, it is important to remind them of the need for hygiene, for their sake and the sake of anyone in the same room.This rule extends to cleaning a child’s private space, so having kids clean their rooms properly on a set schedule is also useful.
4- “Mum, I’m hungry.”
No matter how well you plan your daily routines and mealtimes, you will always hear this complaint. However, regular and expected meal times can help kids to fill their tummies and stop nagging their parents for more food. Plus, meals in which all family members sit down to eat together are proven to increase family harmony, promote conversation and increase physical and emotional wellbeing.Taking turns to cook is another effective routine, and daily chores such as this teach children to become more independent, accept more responsibility, learn valuable life skills and remember that they belong in their household. Sharing chores such as cooking might even nurture an award-winning chef. Plus, imagine not having to cook every night…
5- It’s not fair!
Have you heard this complaint from your children? Perhaps when you asked them to complete a chore, but did not ask their siblings to do the same.Children have an acute sense of justice and fairness, and even if the injustice is simply perceived, they will complain.One way to avoid conflict over household tasks or other decisions that have to be made daily is to have an allocated and visible schedule.This schedule outlines who does what around the house and can help everyone to feel that they are being treated fairly while contributing to the family. Take the stress out of household chores.
6- Hit the books
As children grow older, they will need to study more often and will learn more with a strong routine.Promote positive study habits from a young age to enforce the importance of learning and help your children achieve academically. Children take pride in learning and achieving, and can greatly boost their self-esteem with positive academic results.Clear a space where children can study, check-in on their homework and assignments, and encourage them to make a plan or schedule for studying, to adapt this as they grow.
7- Home study
If children are not able to attend school during normal hours for any reason, a solid and established routine is even more important.Children will be far more relaxed and comfortable if they can follow an existing routine during times of change.Parents can try to encourage their children to wake up and follow the normal process for getting ready for a school day, to study and do academic activities for the same amount of time as a typical school day.Primary school students can do similar activities at similar times as school. For example, if they do writing or painting at a particular time every day, they can do it at the same time at home. Secondary school students should be able to do this more easily, as they can refer to their timetable and do History, or Chemistry or Geography at the same time on the same day.Some experts on homeschooling and working from home even suggest wearing the same clothes at home that one would wear to work or school.So, if your child wears a school uniform, tell them to put it on to study at home. It may sound strange, but it might also make your child study.Getting teenagers to study can be as difficult as getting them off their phone, dragging them out of bed or preventing them from raiding the fridge. However, it is imperative to negotiate and discuss effective routines with teenagers so that they can cope with the uncertainties and challenges of adolescence.Involve them in the creation of the routine, monitor their adherence to the routine and adapt the routine if necessary. A study plan, with days, times and subjects listed, is one example of a useful academic routine.
8- All work and no play…
Of course, children need to play. Make time for them to be children and to laugh, run, jump, throw, create and be silly.Being stuck inside on a rainy day or during certain times makes this more difficult, but hundreds of ideas exist online for indoor or backyard activities. Join in, and you might discover that you are a gifted artist, a wonderful singer, a talented footballer or a master builder. Even if you’re not, you will have sharedan experience with your child.Every child benefits from a routine, which helps them to stay organized and to feel more certain about what the day ahead will bring. Even during events such as moving house, a death in the family, a divorce or other unexpected occurrence, routines can provide children and adults with assurance and comfort.
- Routine or ritual?
Do your children jump into the swimming pool in their uniforms to celebrate the last day of school? Do you send your kids on a treasure hunt to find their birthday present?Do you eat a particular food at certain times of the week or year?These are all examples of rituals, which can create excitement and shared experiences that bring families together.Parents can create rituals, or they can be invented by children and repeated regularly – or they can just emerge organically. Sure, they may have to be modified, such as celebrating a birthday via the internet rather than in person but finding creative ways to overcome an obstacle can be half the fun.Cherish these rituals and do everything you can to continue them, even during times of hardship or drastic change. Rituals are typically fun and joyful and can create familiarity and comfort during uncertain times.Routines can also free up time for parents and help them to feel that their household is organized, creating a genuine feel-good factor. In a busy life, the routine allows you to feel more organized and on top of everything, which reduces stress.
- Common Features of Effective Routines
Daily routines will differ for each family, but there are three key features of any good daily routine.
A — Well planned
Think ahead so that every family member knows what will happen and what is expected of them. Tell children in advance that they will have to complete chores or help wash the beach gear after a day at the beach.
B — Regular
Your routines will become a normal part of daily life because they happen at regular times, and can even become so automatic that family members hardly realize they are doing them.
C — Predictable
That includes everything from packing a school bag and having the school uniform ready on Sunday night, to ordering pizza and choosing the weekly movie on Friday night. Children will also benefit from receiving pocket money on the same day every week, or from knowing when it is their turn to walk the dog.
Daily routines are extremely beneficial to children and parents and can be established and followed with some planning. The routines should be well-planned, regular and predictable, and can promote wellbeing in uncertain times.