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  • Writer's pictureDr.Cece

6 benefits of using routines with your kid

#Children thrive in a well-ordered and predictable environment, where daily #routines such as arrivals and departures, mealtimes, nap times and toileting are dealt with consistently by all caregivers. Daily routines provide opportunities for children to learn more about themselves, the world and other people.

The benefit of Regular Routines:

1. Eliminate the power struggles because you aren't bossing them around. This activity (brushing teeth, napping, turning off the phone/pad/game/TV to come to dinner) is just what we do at this time of day. The parent stops being the bad guy, and nagging is greatly reduced.

2. Help kids cooperate by reducing stress and anxiety for everyone. With scheduled routines everyone knows what comes next, we get fair warning for transitions, and no one feels pushed around. Daily routines also offer children a sense of stability, and a feeling of warmth and caring that reduces stress and anxiety.

3. Help kids learn to take charge of their own activities. Over time, kids learn to brush their teeth, pack their backpacks, etc., without constant reminders. Kids love being in charge of themselves. This feeling increases their sense of mastery and competence. Kids who feel more independent and in charge of themselves have less need to rebel and be oppositional.

4. Kids learn the concept of "looking forward" to things they enjoy, which is an important part of making a happy accommodation with the demands of a schedule. She may want to go to the playground now, but she can learn that we always go to the playground in the afternoon, and she can look forward to it then.

5. Help kids get on a schedule, so that they fall asleep more easily at night. The more easily the fall asleep, usually correlates with more sleep. Which is one of the most important things that all developing and growing brains need.

6. Schedules help parents maintain consistency in expectations. If everything is a fight, parents end up settling: more TV, skip brushing teeth for tonight, etc. With a routine, parents are more likely to stick to healthy expectations for everyone in the family, because that's just the way we do things in our household. The result: a family with healthy habits, where everything runs more smoothly.

The challenge is to develop appropriate daily routines for children which offer them a sense of consistency and security, yet remain flexible and responsive to the individual needs of each child.

Committed to your child's health,

Dr. Cece


Markham, Laura (2012) Peaceful Parent, happy kids: how to stop yelling and start connecting. New York, New York: Penguin Group.

Wildenger, L.K., McIntyre, L.L., Fiese, B.H. et al. Early Childhood Educ J (2008) 36: 69. doi:10.1007/s10643-008-0255-2

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