Routines – do we have to?

As adults, some of us are real ‘creatures of habit’ and thrive on routine (I count myself amongst this group!). Others are more content to ‘go with the flow’ and if that works for you, great. What we do know however when it comes to children is that keeping a regular routine as a family for daily activities (e.g. morning routine, bedtime routine, family games night etc.) is greatly beneficial. These benefits include:

  • Helping your child to become more independent in their daily living skills 
  • Your child learns an important life lesson that we must balance work and play
  • Reducing any stress or anxiety your child might be experiencing 
  • Your child is more likely to comply with your instructions and knows your expectations 
  • Your child feels safe and secure 
  • Your child will likely sleep and eat better, which will improve their mood and behaviour 
  • Providing stability at times of transition, such as parental separation, starting kindergarten or school, death of a family member, birth of a sibling or puberty
  • Encouraging bonding time as a family 

Of course, it also important to have some unstructured ‘down time’ in your child’s life in which they can rest or be creative. It is important to not be overly rigid in your routine (e.g. it may change for special occasions) as this helps your child be flexible. 

Olivia Smith is an endorsed Educational and Developmental Psychologist and is a strong believer in the importance of working collaboratively with families and other professionals to ensure a holistic approach to child wellbeing. She is passionate about advocating for and working with children presenting with anxiety and/or neurodiversity (e.g. ASD, ADHD and specific learning disorders) and their families. Olivia strives to make therapy sessions engaging, effective and applicable to everyday life, and views the relationship between child and therapist as key to success. She is also a certified SOS-feeding therapist.

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