The Benefits of Having a Routine With Children

Nowadays it is commonly understood that having a routine with children can help support their development, mental health, and self-regulating skills. Apart from that, with uncertain times like this, parents live very busy lives and need to have some kind of structure set up to easily navigate their daily lives, be able to manage their careers as well as their responsibilities as parents, while ensuring they are providing their children with the building blocks they need to succeed. Because of that search for life balance, parents are becoming more aware of the importance of establishing a routine for their children from a very early age. But how can a routine have a positive impact on families and be beneficial to babies and young children?

Research shows that routines support healthy social and emotional development in early childhood. When children live in organized predictable environments, they learn to behave and self-regulate in organized predictable ways. Families that have routines help their children to learn not only to self-regulate but also to recognize and manage their feelings, being able to adapt to everyday challenges. By having a routine, families bring children predictable experiences that can reduce anxiety, allowing them to feel a sense of connection, therefore, promoting positive outcomes for the whole family.

Often though when parents think of routines, especially with their young babies, they feel stressed imagining they will need to follow a very strict unrealistic schedule, not knowing that what matters the most is that they develop a consistent routine that includes predictable relationships and environments for their babies. This means that they will be cared for by people they are attached to, and they can trust; people that behave in predictable ways and events that occur at predictable times and ideally in the same order every day. Babies can use their routines as cues to what comes next, such as meals, bath time, and bedtime, allowing them to stay calm and able to sleep better.

Children benefit from relationships and environments that are predictable to them because they know what to expect, they feel safe to play and explore, and can anchor their day according to these expected interactions with their families and or caregivers. Because of a family’s routine during dinner time, bath time, and story time, for example, children feel connected while engaging with their family members and or caregivers, being able to develop a sense of family identity. Being part of a family and their interactions promote connection among family members; These connections can later help children to cope during stressful times and feel like they are not alone.

In short, a routine with consistent and predictable experiences can impact children and families positively because it allows families to have balance in their lives while supporting their babies’ and or children’s development. By teaching children to self-regulate and become aware of how they feel, guiding them to better manage their emotions and to adapt during difficult times. Apart from that, a routine is beneficial in helping children feel safe because they know what to expect and who to rely on, so they can focus on exploring and learning about the world. They become connected to their families and caregivers which allows them to develop a sense of belonging and a sense of themselves as a part of something bigger, therefore strengthening family bonding.

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