Do you enforce a bedtime? Most parents do. But what about during the day? Bedtimes seem like a no-brainer, but they do more than just promote healthy bodies and higher energy levels during the day, they introduce your child to a routine. Children thrive on structure! In fact, researchers examined the number of daily routines that more than 8,500 children practiced with their families. Each ritual linked to a 47 percent increase in the odds that children would have high social-emotional health. Additionally, there is plenty more research and anecdotal evidence to support the claim that children need routines. But why? We’ve researched some important benefits a routine provides you and your child.
1. Increased feelings of security
Because children don’t have a lot of control over their lives, structure gives kids a sense of stability. This stability is created through predictability. Life is constantly changing, and kids are constantly being confronted with that reality. But constant change can be stressful. When children don’t have a basic sense of safety and security they are focused on that, and not on developing. When children feel safe and secure, they’re able to confront new challenges and master new skills.
2. More independence and confidence
Providing children with limits allows them to learn self-control, be more independent, and gain confidence. When children are given opportunities to make their own choices within set parameters based on their current level of self-control, they are given the tools to become more confident and capable. Routines create positive habits that allow children to feel competent and in charge of their own lives. This is when children develop the best and begin learning to manage themselves.
3. No more power struggles
When a child knows what’s coming next, the routine become the boss. That’s right, the routine is now the bad guy! The boundaries have already been set and children know what to expect, thus minimizing the need for parents to constantly draw lines and for children to test them. For example, if homework is done directly after dinner at a parent’s desk every weekday evening, there is no discussion. Although, bear in mind that things happen and deviating from the routine every once in awhile doesn’t hurt.
Design a routine that fits your schedule and can be flexible if necessary. Let your child be a part of the development of their routine. You can include activities such as: family walks, family dinner, making dinner together, reading time, or family movie night. Every family’s different and has a better idea of what will work for them.
We would love to share all the awesome things we’ve learned from Dr. West and Dr. Latham! Sign up for our FREE newsletter to have a hands-on learning experience every week!