“Practice makes perfect,” is a line often said to encourage kids to assemble some sort of routine. And while they may gripe about it, establishing a routine promotes healthy habits and contributes as an integral part of child care. By implementing small activities in the mornings and evenings, children can get accustomed to a daily rhythm and will be less fussy.
Morning routines don’t need to be complicated. Just making it a daily habit to wake up your child at a specific time throughout the week will get them used to it. If you take your child to day care or preschool, have them get comfortable with a certain order, such as waking up, brushing their teeth, getting dressed, and coming down for breakfast. From personal experience, waking up rarely gets easier, but seeing my parents happy in the morning made me feel better about getting up and starting my day. Have them participate a bit by asking them easy questions like, “Which lunch box do you want to take today?” or “Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt?” A little independence goes a long way, and as they get older, you can allow them more freedom to make their own choices regarding what they’d like to wear and what to eat.
When your child attends school, they have a routine they go through, because it’s been proven that repetitive tasks work in helping children understand concepts and grow. With these basic tactics down, your child can then further develop cognitively. For example, various television shows geared towards young kids employ the concept of repetition to reinforce a learning objective.
An afternoon routine is just as important as a morning one. After they return home, set up a system where they finish homework, have dinner, and begin to get ready for bed. Make the morning a little easier by helping your son or daughter select their clothes for the next day and make sure their backpacks are filled with everything they need such as books, paper, completed homework, etc. Various things you may want to incorporate before bed include talking to your child about his or her day, reading to them while they’re in bed, etc.
To manage your time efficiently, encourage the use of charts in easily accessible areas. When an item on their list to do is completed, mark it off or place a sticker. This method can encourage your kids to continue on with their daily activities. Additionally, keep in mind their behaviors. How do they react with a crowded kitchen? Are they visibly affected when there’s a rush? Observe your child and plan accordingly.
Keep in mind, the simple things like getting them to do various tasks are important, but even more so are the routines that involve the parent as well and plays a bit part in child care. That is to say, routines are implemented to build good habits for both the child and parent to promote bonding. As the parent, you can set aside ten to twenty minutes before bed to read to your kid, or make it a point to prepare a few special snacks twice a week (or more if you have the time).
Of course, not everything will go according to plan every single day. Times to relax the structure placed in the home can be used during the weekends, sick days, and holidays. “Fun” routines can be implemented instead, like having Sundays be a day for waffles, and allowing your child to help and pick their own toppings. Making routines fun and creative is an effective way to encourage healthy habits. By keeping things fresh, you can prevent boredom.