Building a routine for your whole family to follow can make getting ready for daycare, putting lunch or dinner on the table and brushing teeth before bed so much easier. Daily routines help kids (and parents) know what to expect, minimizing hard transitions and reducing feelings of anxiety over what’s next.
Tips for Building a Daily Routine
Creating a daily routine for your kids will take a bit of trial and error. To figure out the best schedule for your family, follow these tips.
- Build a daily routine that incorporates more specific routines for the morning, dinner and bedtime. This way, you can follow the same steps even when times or settings are different, such as the weekend or at grandma’s house.
- Use a schedule that works for your family. Some kids love very structured routines, while others thrive with a more general outline of the plan.
- Ensure every family member knows their place in the routine. If your daughter has soccer practice, make sure your son knows whether he’ll be coming with you to drop her off or staying at daycare a little later once a week.
- Give kids specific tasks during different time frames. For example, when it’s bedtime, one child may pick up toys while another helps pack lunches for the next day.
- Create a routine that works for kids and parents. Don’t forget about building in time for you to watch TV, get ready for the day or go for a walk.
- Write down your routine, using pictures and words, to help preschoolers and elementary school-aged kids follow the routine without help from parents.
- Schedule regular family meetings to talk about what pieces of the routine are working and what’s consistently missed. Discuss what special events, such as extra studying time, need to be added into the routine for the upcoming week.
- Don’t give up if a new routine or item doesn’t stick right away. Routines take both time and repetition before taking hold in your home.
The Benefits of Daily Routines for Kids
A regular routine has lots of benefits for your kids. Knowing what the plan is helps everyone feel like they belong. Everyone knows what to expect. Changes and transitions are hard at any age; routine minimizes unexpected changes. When the majority of the day is planned, the transitions your kids do experience will be smoother.
A daily routine can also help you prioritize your family’s health. Incorporate eating dinner together, limiting sweet snacks, brushing teeth and getting enough sleep and they will soon become habit.