Why routine helps kids?

Why routine helps kids?

Importance of following a routine

Having a plan always helps. It helps us prepare and act according to what is next on the list. Similarly, routines help us plan our time in such a way that we get the most out of our day. As adults, we know what to do after waking up and then after brushing our teeth and so on. But we know this because we were taught this as kids. Imagine, if your parents had just let you be? They left it on you, a toddler to decide what to do after waking up. How would you plan your day? Do you think as a child you would even know what to do next? Scary, right? Routine plays a big role in providing a balance and a sense of purpose. This is especially important for children. And it is our responsibility as a caregiver and a parent to help them get into this routine.

These are the key areas of childhood development

  1. Physical- Fine and gross motor skills and eye-hand coordination
  2. Social- Interacting with the environment and people around them. Forming new bonds.
  3. Emotional- Identifying and expressing feelings and emotions.
  4. Cognitive- Thinking skills, processing information, attention to environment and tasks.

Following a routine actually helps develop all of the above areas.

Benefits of routine:

1.      Provides stability and security

Following a routine helps children cope up with stress and feel secure. The familiarity of following a routine can calm them down make them feel safe. This is very evident especially if you take the example of this pandemic. It was the lack of routine that affected the children most. They missed that structure of going to school and then playing with friends and that also caused a lot of behavioral issues.

2.      Fosters discipline and a healthy lifestyle

Routines teach kids about “rules” and that there are rewards and consequences for following or ignoring those rules. They also reduce the need for you to remind kids that it’s time to take a bath or do their homework. Routines can reinforce the concept of expectations. When kids see a chore chart with activity stickers, for example, they may think to themselves “mum/dad is counting on me to do this.” Whether they do it or not is another story, but at least they will realize their responsibility. .

3.      Teaches time management

A Daily Routine Will Help Kids Develop Personal Rituals & Interests. Rituals fuel creativity, increase focus and reduce anxiety for kids.  For children to experience these benefits, the ritual has to become a regular part of their lives. A daily routine allows kids to schedule times for them to carry out those rituals, in whatever form they may assume.

4.      Fosters self-control

Following a routine and giving time to everything from school to play to hobbies can help kids learn self-control. When a child learns that it is time to switch off the Tv for homework, they start practicing self-control. This is an early start to a life where they will prioritize important matters in the future.

5.      Reduces parental pressure

Most importantly, routines really reduce the stress for parents. If your child is used to a certain schedule, they will not need constant reminders. They will also know what rules they are expected to follow.

Tips to make following routine easier

Begin with the basics

Meals, bedtime rituals, school preparations – these are the necessities. Instead of adding new chores, add some structure to the things kids already do. This will help them ease into their routine.

Using a daily routine chart, you can start with simple activity stickers related to mealtimes (wash your hands, set the table) or bedtime (brush your teeth).

Be patient 

It’s important to remember that it takes time to form habits. It usually takes at least a month to form a new habit. Let the kids ease into it. After your kids have developed a habit of doing basic tasks, you can introduce new ones here and there. For example, reading a book before falling asleep.

Keep it flexible but consistent

Once your kids get used to their routine, you can start to add more challenging tasks. If you have a daily routine chart, you can start to add rewards for additional tasks like watering houseplants, making their bed etc. It is important to remember that in order to follow this routine you also need to be flexible.  Keep in mind unforeseen circumstances that may change plans.

Adjust where necessary

As you go along this journey, keep making changes when you think your child is bored or when the routine starts becoming predictable. You may also feel the need to change the difficulty of tasks as your kids grow up. You can read this article that speaks about the importance of household chores for children.

Remember to have fun

A routine does not need to be boring and mundane. You can always jazz it up by adding your personal touch to them. For example, waking up your kids with their favorite music will definitely light up everyone’s mood and starting your day on a positive note. Having family rituals that your children look forward to like having a pizza night on weekends or any other food they like.

Sayee Deshpande
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