13 January 2011 11:42 AM

Why Routines Help Your Child

by Dr. Rick

One of Dr. Rick Blog’s most constant refrains is about the importance of routines for children.  If routines are too, well, routine, for your free and “spontaneous” nature, call them customs, or habits, or patterns, or favored practices.  Just have them.  Especially for kids who sometimes struggle with their schoolwork, grades, studying, and school behavior.  Yes, behavior.  By definition, routines eliminate chaos.


And if you think routines are just for children, think again.  Watch what happens to your own day when your morning routine gets thrown off track.


If routines – rhythms – are good enough for Mother Nature, with her seasons, tides, orbits, cadences, and patterns, then they’re good enough for us mortals, right?


Here are some reasons why routines are helpful for kids.

  1. Routines make kids feel safe.  The comforting rhythms of home (bedtime, mealtime, playtime, study time, homework time, family time) and classroom (new learning, practice, recess, tests) bring a sense of certainty to children.  These routines are even more important during emergencies, when there’s nothing more assuring than “normalcy” as soon as possible.

  2. Routines let kids know what to expect next.  It’s Friday, must be a spelling-test day.  Routines eliminate uncertainty.  Children know what’s expected of them, so they can prepare, succeed, and be confident.

  3. Routines help organize kids.  It’s Thursday, better prepare with my study buddy for tomorrow’s test.  Routines are an ideal way to get kids to organize themselves.

  4. Routines allow you to share your values.  Show kids what you believe in by having regular savings practices, worship customs, volunteering routines, family traditions, and entertainment favorites.

  5. Routines lessen the homework battles.  Having specific times for homework not only shows you value education, it shows you’re serious about grades.  Screens off.  Distractions at a minimum.  That means you, too.  School success is a family affair.

  6. Routines enhance self-confidence.  When those grades go up, the routines’ value becomes evident.  You’ll be able to say, “See what you can do when you’re organized?

  7. Routines help kids learn to manage their time.  Time for study is from 6:00 to 7:00.  Better find time to practice free throws, play video games, or hang out with friends earlier or later.

  8. Routines build structure into kids’ lives.  We lead busy 21st century lives.  It’s good when kids know they’ll be worshiping on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays.  Piano lessons are Wednesdays.  Soccer on Saturday mornings.  Swim lessons in summer.  Help them keep the family calendar.  And don’t forget the quiet, unscheduled time.

  9. Routines carry over to school.  Schools have their own important and necessary routines, so routine-ready kids adjust easily and successfully.

  10. Routines build for future success.  Kids who learn how to organize, budget their time, and structure their responsibilities use these skills in college, jobs, and eventually in their own families.  Think of it as doing your grandkids a favor.

There are times when lightening up on the routines is natural and even fun – weekends until Sunday night, summers, special family occasions – but return to them soon.  These “recesses” will be more meaningful, and the routines more valuable.




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