How To Establish Effective Family Routines

By in Parenting on 03 April 2009

With our busy schedules, sometimes we just can’t help but wish that we’d have more time. The moment our alarm clock sounds, we immediately rush to our day to prepare breakfast, and get everybody ready for work and school. When we constantly hurry each day to make sure that everything is in order, we just have to rely on our routines to finish our tasks on time.

As parents, we all have different ways on how we can balance everything. Some parents may keep things easy and not stick to a tight schedule, but they may still rely on some kind of routine to get everything done. In every household, there is absolutely no doubt that routines help keep everything in order.

Through routines, parents are also able to strengthen the beliefs and values they want to impart to their children. But although routines make our lives easier, it is actually our children who get the most out of it. Routines give children a sense of belonging, which makes them feel safer and more secured in the family. During times of stress or transition, routines also give children the stability that they need.

To add to that, research has also shown that predictable routines are associated with better regulated behavior in younger children. And they also found out that children, who follow routines, tend to get fewer respiratory infections as compared to others. This may be attributed to how routines promote healthy habits in children.

However, the greatest challenge that parents may have to tackle is how to establish an effective routine at home. For routines to work, these have to be predictable as well as consistent. Routines with too much structure may also not work well with children. This kind of routine may not serve its purpose because it may only make kids resistant.

Morning routines are very important because it can make the difference between a pleasant day from one that is started hastily. Try not to leave unfinished tasks for the morning, so you will not begin the day rushing to finish things. You may also do certain things in advance like making lunches, or preparing necessary things that need to be brought to school. Keep mornings simple and cheerful, and don’t forget to give your kids hugs before leaving for school.

When your child attends middle school, try to work on your schedule with your partner, so that either one of you will be around when your child comes home. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this is the time when parents should closely supervise a child. Studies show that kids who go home to an empty house are at risk for misbehaving and developing risk-taking behaviors.

Dinners should also be a big part of family routines. Meal times give family members an opportunity to bond and communicate. Make meal times pleasant by keeping conversations light, which may primarily be focused on how the day went by for each family member. Share jokes, and make it enjoyable for everyone.

Many parents can attest to how important bedtime routines are for children. A regular time for sleep can work well with bedtime rituals like storytelling or reading aloud. You should also create the right atmosphere by avoiding rigorous play, or stimulating activities before bedtime.

In establishing routines at home, you need to remember that it may take some time before you can find something effective. Openly communicate with members of your family, so you can together set something right. Bear in mind that the secret to making your kids stick to a routine is to find something that can work for everybody.


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