A routine followed makes our lives a lot more organized and stable; there is no doubt! You might have observed, a lot of things remain pending for days- be it your workout, that day out you planned with your friend, and many day to day chores pile up just because we do not follow a routine or schedule our work efficiently. A routine is not just important for a grown up adult but it is equally important for kids to have a routine for their continuous growth and development not just in academics but also from a behavioral stand point.
Right from the birth of your child, you have followed a routine to feed and put your baby to sleep. As he grows up, you set time for his play, sleep, studies, screen time and almost everything your child does in a day. According to Dr. Victoria Ang-Nolasco, a developmental pediatrician at Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan, “A routine is defined as a predictable way of doing things.” Scheduling your child’s daily activities places him in a routine which is necessary for a child in more ways than one. Let’s take a look at how!
Routine leads to an overall development of the child. A program called the EBCD developed by The American Academy of Pediatrics which focuses on the optimal development of the brain in the first 1000 days of life. “The EBCD teaches the 5 Rs in promoting childhood development – READ together with your child every day; RHYME, play and cuddle with your child every day; develop ROUTINES particularly around meals, sleep, and family fun; REWARD your child with praise for successes; develop a strong and nurturing RELATIONSHIP with your child.” This means there has to be a routine for every activity that your child does and that you want to inculcate in their lifestyle. Setting a time aside for play with keep the child active while keep a time allotted for family time or story time at bed boosts the parent-child relationship and develops a strong bond with the family.
A routine helps in developing healthy habits in a child. When you have aligned your kid to a routine of brushing their teeth before bed or clean themselves up after any outdoor activity, it is easier for them to follow these ‘rituals’ and in the process develop healthy habits. Simple habits go a long way in paving the child’s behavior and personality.
A routine helps the child become independent. Setting up a schedule for your child makes the child independent since they know what needs to be done after what and do not wait to be directed all the time to do a certain activity. For example, if you have limited the screen time for your kid to about an hour every day during her early years and that they need to study or go out for a physical activity after their TV time, your child knows what is expected of her and needs lesser supervision. Of course few kids can be unpredictable and may wish to do things their way and not what you say. A routine that you police and supervise your child to follow in the first few days will help her get accustomed to the chronology of activities to be done and is less likely to retaliate or rebel.
A routine helps create a better bond with the family. A bonding develops when you spend time together and maintain the routine regularly. For example, a Friday night outing or a Sunday breakfast with the family set up as a part of the routine not only sets an expectation in your child and makes them excited about the events and activities but also creates a stronger bond in the family. Gradually as they grow up, they would start to realize that Sunday breakfasts with the family together is an important activity and even they will wait for the time they can spend with the entire family and share a quality time. It is therefore imperative that along with setting up a routine for your child, you follow a routine yourself. A household following a schedule or a routine is significantly calmer and much organized than one with no routine.
A schedule helps in a healthy growth of the kid. A routine helps tune the biological clock of the body. You might have noticed it yourself that once you start following a routine, your health improves manifold. Similarly for kids a routine helps in a good bowel movement, uninterrupted sleep and lower levels of stress. It lets them eat healthy and full meals, have well enough outdoor activity and yet leaves them enough time indoors to hone their creativity.
A routine incorporated for your child’s day to day activities prepares them for the school time where they will be inevitably following a routine during the school hours and also helps in eliminating the feeling of fatigue for the rest of the day. Also, as a parent it is crucial to remember that not every child is the same. While few just get adapted to a routine and obey you really well, others might take some time to get adjusted to a routine. So make it a point to give your child some time with the current routine before you change them to fit in other activities. Frequent change in the schedule not just confuses them but also makes them aggressive and stern in their approach. Leave enough time for your kid to develop their creativity and skills in the routine you design for them while you schedule the larger aspects of the day to day activities.