As adults we often find routines to be boring and monotonous, yet for children they create a framework for their day that provides the security, stability, organization and comfort they need. Even as infants, children benefit from regular sleep and meal schedules and the routines that lead up to them. As they get older, routines continue to assist both the child and the parent. Repetition and knowing what to expect helps children thrive and helps deter parenting struggles.
“The key to any routine is keeping the elements consistent so your child knows what the next step is and the expected outcome,” says Claire Haas, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy, a national child care and education franchisor. “It’s also important to remember that the timing of a routine can be flexible, but the way it is done should always remain the same.”
To establish consistent routines for your child throughout the day, Haas recommends the following
* In the morning it is helpful if you can prep for your morning routine the night before. Packing up backpacks, laying out clothing and getting everyone bathed will make mornings more orderly and less hurried.
* At dinnertime establishing a routine can help with good eating habits, communications skills and manners. You can involve your children in preparing for dinner – have them set or clear the table or put together ingredients for a salad. Even little ones can get involved with small tasks like putting the napkins out.
* As often as possible, sit at the table as a family and encourage their communications skills by each sharing the best and most challenging parts of the day. This sparks discussion and provides learning opportunities.
* Homework can be a tricky routine, because most children are not eager to do homework. Knowing your child is important – are they better about doing homework right after school, or do they need a snack and some time to play and decompress after a long day at school or child care? There is no right or wrong approach, but it is important to be firm with your routine and remain consistent.
* Before bedtime it is important not to over-stimulate your child. Try to avoid any screen time or rambunctious play. Typically children from kindergarten to third grade are required to read 20 minutes a day, and bedtime is a great time for this. If you have younger children, establish bedtime as story time and read to them.
For more than 29 years, Kiddie Academy® has been a leader in education-based child care. The company serves families and their children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, offering full time care, before- and after-school care and summer camp programs. Kiddie Academy’s proprietary Life Essentials® curriculum, supporting programs, methods, activities and techniques help prepare children for life. Kiddie Academy is accredited by AdvancEd, signifying its commitment to quality education and the highest standards in child care. For more information, visit http://www.kiddieacademy.com/ .