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  • Why Routines Are Important for Kids: It Makes the Family Happier!

    Research shows that it's important in establishing close-knit relationships within the family.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Why Routines Are Important for Kids: It Makes the Family Happier!
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Your child is growing at an amazing pace and with all his skills (language, social, and motor skills) developing rapidly, it can get pretty overwhelming. As toddlers, you need to build the foundation of a routine — kids need a sense of structure to give them a sense of control.

    “Your child needs some consistency to her day, a predictable sequence that lets her explore the world without worry,” said child and family therapist Victoria Manion Fleming, Ph.D., to Parents.

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    But it’s not just young children who benefit from a daily schedule — research shows that rituals and routines are important contributors to establishing happy and close-knit relationships within the family. These two were found to be related to parenting competence, child adjustment, and marital satisfaction. That’s not all — a similar study found that routines can improve a child’s language, academic, and social skills.

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    Here's why establishing a routine is the key to a happy, thriving family.

    1. Kids are more likely to cooperate with a routine in place.

    Knowing what activity to expect at a certain time of day helps relieve the pressure of feeling like they’re being pushed around or controlled by their parents (whenever you ask them to do something). “A predictable routine allows children to feel safe, and to develop mastery in handling their lives,” said Laura Markham of Aha! Parenting.

    It may even prevent meltdowns, according to Parents. For example, once your toddler gets used to the idea that she’ll have lunch after she takes a bath, then she’ll learn to be a little more patient instead of throwing a tantrum whenever she’s feeling ‘hangry.’

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    2. Routines make a child feel safe and comforted.

    Having a consistent, daily schedule reassures the child and puts her at ease as she goes through life’s daily motions. It makes her relax at that moment, so she’s able to focus on having fun and being happy.

    Make sure that this carries on at night — toddlers with consistent nighttime schedules tend to fall asleep easier and sleep longer than kids who don’t have a regular evening routine, said Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, to Parents.

    Less tension means less bedtime battles. It also means that parents will have a little bit more time for other activities and moms can even indulge in a little self-care!

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    3. Routines offer stress relief for both parent and child.

    The predictability of a routine can help stabilize both parent and child’s emotions, relieving stress and anxiety. It’s especially helpful when your children are suddenly placed in an unfamiliar setting.

    For example, even if you’re on a vacation, sticking to your nighttime routine (like reading a story before bed) can help your kids fall asleep faster even if she’s in a different environment.

    According to the Syracuse University study, family stress is often first noted by the disruption of family routines. But if these schedules are maintained, families, and especially children, get better at adapting to change, even when faced with challenging situations or traumatic events. Research also shows that routines help families stay connected despite conflicts.

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    4. Routines coupled with rituals create wonderful memories for the family.

    According to parenting website Raising Children, family rituals like meals, activities, kisses, winks, or handshakes, give you and your children a sense of security, identity and belonging. These special things that you do together create shared memories and help strengthen family relationships and bonds.

    Think of your daily routine when creating rituals — it could be as simple as kissing your kids on the forehead before you go to work, or silly code names that you make up for each other. Apart from building a connection with your child, if you do them as “part of the routine,” it will also make your kids feel safer and more secure.

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