• Why routines are good for children

    Some children like and need routine more than others. In general, though, routine has the following benefits for children:

    • There can be a way of teaching younger children healthy habits, like brushing their teeth, getting some exercise, or washing their hands after using the toilet.
    • An organised and predictable home environment helps children and young people feel safe and secure.
    • Routines built around fun or spending time together strengthen relationships between parents and children. Reading a story together before bed or going for a special snack after soccer practice can become a special time for you and your children to share.
    • Daily routines help set our body clocks. For example, bedtime routines help children’s bodies ‘know’ when it’s time to sleep. This can be particularly helpful when children reach teenage years and their body clocks start to change. You can read more about sleep in adolescence.
    • If your child needs to take medicine regularly, a routine for this will help make both of you less likely to forget.
    • Having an important job to do in the family routine helps older children and teenagers develop a sense of responsibility.
    • Routines help develop basic work skills and time management.
    • Routines can help promote a feeling of safety in stressful situations or during difficult stages of development, such as puberty.
    • When children reach adolescence, the familiarity of regular home routines can help them feel looked after. Predictable family routines can be a welcome relief from the changes they’re experiencing.
    • Routines for children with disabilities can be a big help. They can be even more important for children who find it hard to understand or cope with change.
    • Routines have health benefits, too; children in families with regular routines have fewer respiratory infections than those in routine-free homes. This might be because routines contribute to healthy habits like washing hands. Routines might also help reduce stress, which can suppress the immune system.
  • Why routines are good for parents

    Routines take some effort to create. But once established, they have lots of benefits:

    • They free up time for you to think about other things while you work.
    • Regular and consistent routines can help you feel like you’re doing a good job as a parent.
    • When things are hectic, routines can help you feel more organised, which lowers stress.
    • A routine will help you complete your daily tasks efficiently.
    • As children get better at following a routine by themselves, you can give fewer instructions and nag less.
    • Routines free you from having to constantly resolve disputes and make decisions. If Sunday night is pizza night, no-one needs to argue about what’s for dinner.

    Older children and teenagers may challenge some routines. Being flexible and adapting routines as your children get older can help with this issue.

    Preschoolers are working out that other people have feelings too. When they remember, they will want to be considerate of those feelings.
    At this age, children can really benefit from going to preschool. It’s here that they can start learning about other people’s rules and how to get along with other children in a formal setting.

    Preschoolers need boundaries that guide their natural enthusiasm but that don’t dampen their passion for life. Boundaries and a routine offer them security. They protect them from getting overwhelmed by too much responsibility before they’re ready.

    Preschool children are still trying to learn the everyday things that we take for granted, like how we talk to each other. For example, you might think your preschooler is not listening to you. But maybe your child is still trying to figure out what someone said five minutes ago!

    In trying to understand the world around them, we have to forgive preschoolers for being a bit distracted. A good rule is to always budget for another 30 minutes when doing things with your preschooler..