Just as adults need routine and purpose, children also need to experience their own routine for quite a few reasons. Most importantly, this routine should cater to the specific needs of each individual on a case-by-case basis. In a well-planned routine, it establishes itself in daily life and creates the foundation and bones of each day. It is predictable and occurs in the same order each time; it consists of certain expectations that have been laid out clearly and purposefully. Routines in the early years could look like getting ready in the morning by brushing your hair or your teeth, eating meals, spending time together, and having quiet time before bed each night. Weekly routines could consist of playdates, visits with grandparents, etc. and gives children a special event to look forward to each week. Here are just a few benefits to having a family routine:
Shared Values and Beliefs
Daily routines at home help to create predictable time together. Routines offer children safety, and the opportunity to gain life skills and healthy habits, like organizational and time management skills. Family routines set how a family chooses to organize themselves in order to accomplish a set goal. Routines also clearly state who should do what, when and how often. More importantly, they can teach children what matters to their family. Not only does it assist in showcasing the core values and beliefs of the family unit, but it will also help strengthen those shared beliefs and build a sense of belonging and security between each member.
Safety and Belonging within Relationships
Children need predictable parents, not perfect parents. While you may spend a good amount of time with your child overall, consider how predictable your focused attention is for them. Their overall development is best supported by smaller, focused moments of positive interaction than attempts at obtaining distracted attention throughout the day.
Responsibility and Health
Routines can exemplify healthy habits to younger children, such as hygiene, which ultimately create a healthier way of life. For example, children who wash their hands regularly might be less likely to catch colds and/or other common illnesses from bacteria. As a byproduct, routines reduce stress, and lower stress improves the immune system.
Not only do routines improve a child’s health, it helps to regulate the body’s natural clock. Bedtime routines help a child’s body know when it is time to fall asleep.
At the Nest Schools, we use routine in our enrichment programs in a multitude of ways! Overall, each school consistently follows a classroom schedule. Our enrichment programs are also scheduled to provide consistence and structure each week, providing students and teachers with an expectation on when classes begin and end. We also provide routine through the use of songs, for example, our teachers play a “Hello, hello!” song when an education coordinator begins the program (specifically, during Paints & Pianos, and Fit Buddies) and a “Bye, Bye, Goodbye!” song when the program ends and before the education coordinator is to leave the classroom.
From brushing teeth and hair in the morning to completing assignments in the afternoon, predictable routines help to establish constructive habits, morals and values, support a healthy immune system, and provide comfort and support in personal relationships.