A new school year is a great time to make sure that we are on track for success.
One of the ways we can do this is to review our routines. Why are routines important?
• Young children do not really understand the concept of time. Events of the day
provide the structure they need to understand their world and to feel secure.
Change can be stressful – having a routine provides comfort and consistency.
Having a predictable schedule reduces stress and fear of the unknown;
transitions are easier and children are able to relax and fall asleep more easily at
• As their young brains develop, children are better able to plan ahead and predict
the future. Routines reinforce their predictions and also allow them to
understand the concepts of “before and after”. They develop self-control skills as
they learn to wait to do a particular activity.
• Routines eliminate power struggles, particularly at difficult times of the day – the
early morning rush, mealtimes and bedtimes. If children know what to expect
they are better able to participate. Shared values, beliefs and interests are
strengthened. We are able to build in precious family rituals – snuggles at
bedtime, reading stories, talking about your day – which all bring the day to a
close and help to reinforce family ties.
• When children have routines, we can create a calmer home. Bath time becomes
a fun part of the day instead of a surprise or a struggle. Children take pride in
knowing what is expected of them; they can cooperate and become more
• Healthy constructive habits like brushing teeth, tidying up, doing homework are
reinforced and establish a foundation for success in later life.
• It is important not to become too rigid! Minor changes teach our children to be
flexible and to adjust. While mealtimes, snack times, nap times and bed times
are all important for our children’s health and wellbeing, unusual events like a
special visitor or an outing should occasionally be allowed to disrupt the
everyday routine. Memories are made like this!