Children of all ages are able to benefit from structure in their lives as they slowly become more independent and responsible. Babies, toddlers, and school-aged children all need guidelines so they can have comfort in knowing what to expect. Always make sure that the routines you create are healthy and that they help to foster responsibility.
To begin by making routines for your child, work out a specific bedtime and a nap-time routine, and do not deviate from it. The routine should include things such as changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading a bedtime story. By creating a schedule at a young age and remaining consistent, you will find that it is much easier to have your children go to bed on time when they get older.
Chores should be a part of a routine as well. Daily or weekly chores added to your child’s routine can give your child a sense of responsibility and timekeeping. Dinnertime routines, such as setting the table or clearing the table, can do the same thing. Initiating homework routines are just as important, and can make the difference between a passed grade and a failed one as your children get older.
The same applies to shopping trips, visits to the library, and even health care appointments. With less fun trips such as to the doctor or dentist, establish a routine that includes a reward for behaving well at the appointment, such as a trip to the park or their favorite restaurant afterward. It goes without saying that you should never offer junk food or candy after a dentist visit, or you will be giving your child a conflicting message.
Of course, you need to keep an open mind when you are creating your schedules, and realize that some things might stop you from always adhering to the routine. Don’t make the schedule black and white, but do allow your children to know what to expect each day. If something is out of order, your child won’t hesitate to point it out or become insecure.