Following our very successful evening discussing how to develop positive routines in the life of children of all ages, we have been inundated with calls relating to building workable routines into the lives of our clients. Whilst the families' concerned may want something different each time eg: focus on morning or afternoon, as a whole there are certain principles to setting routines which should be in mind no matter what the circumstance. Here are our top tips to getting a routine that works for you and your family.
Routines are not just for babies and children need structure - Everyone does better when we know what to expect in certain situations and what is expected of us. Children are no different. A routine does not have to run according to time, rather it is about creating behaviour associations with certain situations.
Have realistic expectations of yourself and of your children - A routine needs to take into consideration your children's strengths and weaknesses. Children have their own personalities and will want their hobbies and moods to be taken into account just as adults will. eg: If your child is not a morning's person there is no point in expecting them to complete lots of chores prior to school.
Get inspired - What would your ideal routine for the day look like? – Most parents wanting to implement a routine have a vague idea of how they would like their house to run and what they would like done that isn't being done. This is a great place to start. Work out what you would need in place to achieve these goals and you have your start point for your routine.
A routine has to work for your whole family - Everyone in the family needs to understand what is expected of them and when and it may be different for each person. A routine needs to be flexible enough to account for everyone's needs and desires.Remember, you rule the routine, not the other way around.
You should not dread the routine - If you are dreading a particular part of the day or a time in the week then the routine isnt working for you. There are no rules when it comes to routines and they should make your life easier and not more complicated.
Make your child feel an ownership of the routine - This can mean different things at different ages but it is worth considering tick lists for kids as well as positive reinforcement for having achieved what you want them to. The aim is that the ownership they feel will in turn lead to increased secuirty and confidence in themselves and in their role in the family.