Though there is a sense of freedom in the flexibility of summer, the structure and routine the school year brings can be comforting. Children thrive on predictability, repetition, and consistency. “Knowing what to expect from relationships and activities helps children become more confident,” says Dr. Peter Gorski, assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Children need routines in order to learn how to manage their time and their day. In a nutshell, routines don’t bind, they liberate. Routines provide a strong foundation for future learning and independence. They empower children and teens to take responsibility. Structured appropriately, routines can reduce anxiety, eliminate power struggles, and reinforce positive behaviors, In designing your own family routines, you may want to consider the following:
How you feel in the morning usually lays the foundation for your day. Mornings can be very hectic, so set a routine that can provide a smoother start to the day.
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After-school routines are just as important as morning routines. These routines help teach children how to manage their time.
Meals not only contribute to the mental and physical health of children, they also establish a sense of family identity, and provide a positive environment for family interaction.
Evenings should be the time to wind down and prepare for the following day. Building a bedtime routine will help your child learn how to be prepared and the importance of a good night’s rest.
It is important to customize routines to meet the needs of your family. Each family should establish patterns that work in their home. Though creating routine for your family is very important, avoid making too many changes at once. Becoming familiar with routines takes time. Build gradually. Learning and understanding the importance of routines is a very important life long skill.
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