Research suggests that children whose families follow a daily routine may be healthier, better behaved and could even perform better at school. Just having dinner together every night helps a family get to know each other, and a bedtime routine is essential for build a good sleep pattern in your child.
Here are some tips in how to set up a routine:
- Start to build the routine around the times people wake, eat and sleep.
- Be realistic and allow enough ‘ time’ for your children to wash and dress, especially if this is new for them.
- Add in extras to the routine which you know your family needs; chore time, one-to-one time if you have more than one child, homework time and any out of school clubs or classes for older children.
- Pay close attention to night time: if bags are packed, school clothes are laid out and water bottles filled there’ll be less to do in the morning. School age children can help with all of these things. You could even set up a specific Bedtime Routine.
- If you can, remember to rotate duties with your partner, especially the bedtime routine as this will increase your child’s trust in both Mum and Dad.
- Get as much input as you can from your family and talk it through with other parents. A routine which works for everyone will be much easier to stick to.
- If there's one activity, like tooth brushing, which is a nightly sticking point add this chore to your child's existing chart.
- When you first start the routine, talk your family through every step (even if you’re tired of the sound of your own voice). You might decide to do a manual routine chart that you prestrike somewhere in the house for each of your children to follow.
Within a few weeks, your child could be reminding you ‘Seven o’clock, Mum, you should be reading me a story!’
Remember the essentials:
How many hours each of your children need to sleep according to their stage of development*, at least one meal per day should be done with all family together where conversations can take place, children have different needs at different ages however every child need to have time to: do homework, play/relax, do adequate household chores, spend time bounding with parent/caregiver alone (e.g. story reading at night).
Develop the routine with your partner and children, so that everyone feels part of the process and can fully commit to the routine. Good Luck in developing your Family Routine!
* RECOMMENDED SLEEP:
Baby: (New Born): 14-17 hours (Infant): 12 - 15 hours
Toddler (3-5 years): 10 - 13 hours
Child (6-13 years): 9 - 11 hours
Teenager (14 - 17 years): 8 - 10 hours
Adults (18+) :7 - 9 hours
This article was adapted from