Kids need routines because when they have them it helps them lead a successful life. Routines bring order to the chaos which is everyone’s to-do list. They help you remain calm and accomplish tasks. Therefore, it is beneficial for parents to teach this life skill to their children. It is also beneficial to model the behavior as you will also be reaping the benefits of having parenting routines.
Routines help children develop a sense of self-discipline as the tasks we are required to do on a daily and/or weekly basis aren’t always something we want to do. But these tasks need to get done and unless our children can hire someone to do the tasks for them, they’re ‘it’. For instance, one task that is the bane of my existence is laundry. I can’t stand getting it done, possibly because it never ever really gets done. But, it is a chore that is needed as we all like clean clothes. So, by developing a routine that helps me complete the task, I’m able to do so without as much fuss as I would have if I didn’t have the routine. Part of the routine that makes it easier is having the laundry sorted before I even get near it. I have separate hampers and my children place what needs to be in each hamper where it belongs. Works for me!
For my daughter, it’s picking up after herself. You always know where she’s been in the house because there was a mess of some kind. So I helped her develop a routine where before she goes up to her room at night she walks around and picks up all of her things. This really helps her because she was constantly misplacing things and not able to find them when she needed them. This routine not only keeps my house straightened, but it also encourages her to keep organized.
Routines help children with their sense of security while guiding positive behavior. When kids know what is going to happen they feel secure, when kids feel secure they are able to learn and take on new things. When kids are always working on the same thing over and over, they never get the next thing. For instance, if you continually change the time of day you want them to pick up their toys or you will be upset that there are toys everywhere they will begin to worry every time you walk in the room that you want their toys picked up, now. Or, they will get frustrated when you ask them to pick up their toys when yesterday you didn’t ask them until after their cartoon was over. When children know they need to pick up their toys at 7 PM at night, they are calm when you walk in the room, no worries mom is going to be upset. Plus, you will get less of a hassle by having this routine. More importantly, your child will be secure in the fact that you will not be asking them to pick up their toys at 6 PM and being upset with their mess and thereby missing missing an opportunity for some bonding time. It may not seem like much, but knowing what to do and when helps keep your child’s life calm – yours too.
The security of routine can help your child get through tough times. When a parent loses a job, if there’s a death in the family, or other stressful situation has come up in your child’s life, sticking to their routines will help them handle the stress. Dr. Laura Markham says in her article on routines:
“Unpredictable changes – Mom called away on an unexpected business trip, a best friend moving, or more drastic, parents divorcing or a grandparent dying – erode this sense of safety and mastery and leave the child feeling anxious and less able to cope with the vicissitudes of life.”
Routines reduce power struggles. When you make yourself clear in your message, your children understand what needs to be done and when they get into that habit, you no longer have to argue/discuss/nag/ask them to do what you are expecting them to do. Even fighting among siblings can be avoided by using routines.
Routines strengthen the bond between parent and child. See the above tip. With less power struggles and frustration, your child will trust you more; there will be more time to enjoy each other’s company instead.
Social skills get used more often when using routines. Simple social interaction is full of routines that when learned they help your child succeed in making friends and other social skills. Knowing that you need to use your manners is important for kids. For instance, saying hello when you’re introduced to someone or thank you when someone does something for you is important. Using these manners will show the world that your child is a nice person and is capable of social interaction.
Don’t be afraid to adjust your family’s routines when you feel there is a need. Don’t stick to doing a routine just because it is ‘the routine’ if it is no longer working for you family. Kara over at Simple Kids gives has this insight about routines:
“a common trend I’ve noticed among families who have steady rhythms in place is that these routines evolved for them over time. Some of their routines are still evolving. They make small changes and adapt along the way. They tinker. They adjust. They take baby steps.”
Having Routines are Important for All These Reasons and More
It comes down to this, you can help your kids benefit from routines by developing them around your home and modeling them by following the routine as well. Your child will grow up more organized, self-disciplined and self-assured because of it. Tasks get done today, our kids grow up successful in the future – routines are a total win-win!