Routines can be useful for establishing boundaries and guidelines for kids, as well as teaching good habits, time management and improving efficiency.
Routines can help our children feel more comfortable and secure in knowing that there is certainty and predictability in their lives. It establishes expectations and eliminates (or decreases) power struggles. If the child knows that at the end of each day they must pick up their toys it becomes part of their day, something they expect (in our home, we do this only once a week because this is their space too and sometimes their play items and their play itself evolves over time- but on Friday we always clean the house together and then watch a family movie together).
By having certain together moments or family traditions, they begin to understand our family’s values, our beliefs and our interests. Our family goes on hikes almost every weekend- making sure we spend time in nature with one another, soaking in the beauty and serenity ready to restart a new week. Having a routine can help a parent build those precious connections.
Once your children learn a routine, they are confident to do what they are meant to do and take charge of it themselves, rather than always being told what needs to happen (sometimes they need reminding!). When children feel empowered and independent, they are less likely to rebel or retaliate.
Most importantly at times like this, changes and stresses impact a child’s life and sense of security. When the family has an established a routine, normalcy is present in the child’s life, no matter what is going on. A child finds calmness, stability and love through elements of routine, such as bedtime stories or the expectation of something fun like Thursday park day (or backyard day in our present situation)
While it can be nice, at times, to just go with the flow, a structured routine for busy, stressful, or important and even fun times can make family life smoother and more effective.Therefore, I believe in a flexible routine. In the beginning of creating a routine it is important to stay incredibly structured. Once your kids learn exactly what is expected of them and are able to implement the daily routines like the morning routine, going to school routine, play time, family time, chores & bedtime routine then you can add in some irregularities.
Spontaneity and creativity are important factors in a child’s life and healthy development. If the children are really enjoying playing with playdough the next thing on the list can wait or be removed and placed on another day.
Remember to stay sensitive and adaptable to the needs of each child (and adult). When a schedule becomes too regimented or strict, the benefits will be reduced, and children may feel controlled by it rather than freed by it (which is the ultimate goal).
Here is our families flexible schedule while quarantined by COVID19!
*Note: we no longer use this schedule, instead we use choice cards!