Daily routines: why they’re good for families, children and parents
Daily routines help families organise themselves so they can get daily tasks done. This gives families more time to spend doing fun things together.
Daily routines are good for children. An organised and predictable home environment helps children feel safe, secure and looked after. Routines also let children know what you expect of them, so routines sometimes help children cooperate. For example, your routine might cover when screen time starts and finishes, or when it’s sleep time.
And when things are busy, routines can help you as a parent. For example, they can help you remember important things and feel more in control, so you might feel less stressed.
Steps to a daily routine for your family
Every family has its own ways of doing things. So it’s worth taking some time to think about what your family does regularly. This will help you set up a routine that reflects how your family works. Here’s how.
1. Write down what a typical day looks like for your family
You might include what time everybody gets up, when your child goes to school and you go to work, when you have meals, and what happens at bedtime.
2. Think about the things that are important in your day
For example, you want to make sure your child brushes their teeth in the morning, or you want to read to your child at night. Do you sometimes have trouble remembering things like this, or fitting them in?
3. Write down a simple routine that lists regular activities and things you want to remember
You don’t have to do a routine for the whole day. You might find that it helps to have just a morning routine or a bedtime routine.
Here’s an example of a morning routine:
- 7.30 am – Chelsea gets up and gets dressed.
- 7.45 am – Mum makes Chelsea breakfast. Chelsea eats breakfast.
- 8.00 am – Chelsea brushes her teeth and puts on her shoes.
- 8.15 am – Chelsea looks at books while Mum gets ready to go.
- 8.25 am – Chelsea and Mum leave for school.
4. Display your routine where you and your family can see it
This might be in the kitchen or family room. If you keep your routine simple, it’ll become a habit and you won’t need to check it so often. But if you keep it on display, it can still help you and your family stay on track when things get busy.
You might want to think about a weekly routine that maps out where everyone is on certain days. This sort of routine can be useful in busy families with children who have a lot of activities. It can make it easier to plan when you’ll do things like grocery shopping or spending time together as a family.
Making daily routines work for children of different ages
Simple pictures can help your younger child to understand what has to happen in the routine and in what order. If your child can’t yet tell the time, they might need help to understand when things happen in your routine.
You can change your routine as your child gets older to give them more responsibility for chores or to fit in with changes in your family life.
It can be good to involve your child in creating the routine – for example, ‘Will you brush your teeth before the bath or after?’ This can give your child a sense of control and ownership over some parts of the routine.