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Why is it important to establish routines for my child?

Children thrive on routines. Routines can provide structure and some predictability to children as they learn to navigate a world that is remarkably complex. Routines surrounding mealtimes and bedtime often result in more desirable outcomes. That is to say, children for whom the mealtime and bedtime expectations are clear and consistent are much more likely to eat nutritiously and to sleep better at night.
Children thrive on routines. Routines can provide structure and some predictability to children as they learn to navigate a world that is remarkably complex. Routines surrounding mealtimes and bedtime often result in more desirable outcomes. That is to say, children for whom the mealtime and bedtime expectations are clear and consistent are much more likely to eat nutritiously and to sleep better at night.
 
Lynne Kenney
Psychology
Establishing a firm foundation of values is first. I have observed that if children are not clearly told what kind of family culture they live in and what behaviors are expected, they are confused and noncompliance is the most common result. By assigning tasks to your children you are living with a value of helping your children become independent and resourceful.

These task lists are essential for healthy family functioning. They serve two functions: 1) to help the family regain order and 2) to help the children begin to develop independent skills for health and wellness. Children as young as two years of age know that life experiences have some order. They understand routine. A two year old knows that when she sits in her high-chair or at the family table that food is about to be served. They know that sitting comes first and eating comes second. This is the beginning of their understanding that some predictability exists in their world.

Morning and evening routines are the most basic routines to establish. While every family does routines differently, there are some basic tasks children need to complete each day before going to school. 

Begin developing task lists by sitting down with your children and talking about basic routines: “Each morning when we get up we have a lot to do.”  “What do you do each morning?”  “What order do you like to do things in?”

Write down the parts of the child’s routine. Let them draw them and color them and write them out to their ability level. With a young child they can draw pictures and you can write underneath the pictures for them. Write it all down. Then take a white magic marker board, the size you can hang on a bedroom door, and write a list of five tasks. Keep it simple so that your children can experience success.
Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine
By assigning tasks to your child, you are helping your child to become independent and resourceful. If children are not clearly told what kind of family culture they live in and what behaviors are expected, they are confused and noncompliance is the most common result.

These task lists are essential for healthy family functioning. They serve two functions: 1) to help the family regain order and 2) to help the child begin to develop independent skills for health and wellness. Children as young as two years of age know that life experiences have some order. They understand routines. They know that sitting comes first and eating comes second. This is the beginning of their understanding that some predictability exists in their world.

Write down the parts of the child’s routine. Let your child draw them and color them and write them out to their ability level. Write a list of five tasks. Keep it simple so that your child can experience success.
It may sound counterintuitive, but kids do best when they have rules to follow. In this video, psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein discusses the most important daily routines for children. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.