Routines give all of us a sense of normalcy and children are no exception. Predictable everyday routines help children understand what to expect in their everyday lives. A study published in the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioural Assessment suggests that routines are critical to establish a sense of predictability and security in children. A predictable routine helps parents as well by lowering parent-child conflict and increasing positive parent-child interactions.
That being said, maintaining a child’s routine has proven to be quite a task during this pandemic for most parents. Here are a few tips that could make it a little easier to manage your child’s routine.
Letting your child know what to expect on a daily basis helps them feel more in control of their day. Creating an agenda together will help children communicate how they want their day to be. For example: I want to study English first and then Maths. Try to divide the day into 30-minute blocks instead of longer chunks. Incorporate an hour of fun time every day to cope up with delays or unexpected situations. If everything is on schedule, children can use this hour however they like. This will act as a reward for maintaining a routine. Make sure that your child can see the agenda easily. It will help them understand what’s next.
Most parents have to face this ‘5 minutes more’ phase. Younger children often struggle to estimate how long 5 minutes are. One of the best ways to help your child understand how long they have to do an activity is to set a timer. Luckily, almost all the gadgets let you set an alarm or even a timer. Set an alarm or a timer before starting a new activity. Let your children also develop a habit of setting an alarm or a timer. It will help them take ownership of their activity. Since they themselves have set an alarm, they know that there is no cheating involved and that every activity on the agenda, even the one they really dislike, has a tangible end.
“Wait for a second, I am on an office call.” Most working parents have experienced at least one of these moments in the last six months. While children need to know their schedule, they also need to know your schedule. It will help them understand what you are up to. You can teach them to differentiate between big problems and small problems using this printable anchor chart we created for you below. It will encourage them to solve their own problems and will also give you more breathing room to focus on other activities .
Here are a couple of printable elements to help you add more structure to your children’s routines. One is a family calendar to plan your days out and the other is a handy chart for the young ones to look up in order to decide if any situation demands intervention from you.
Managing children’s routine requires consistency more than anything else. Create a plan, follow through with it and within no time your child’s routine will be on track. Have you tried any of these methods before? If yes, comment below and let us know if it worked for you.
“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She’s the only ‘Mekhala’ she knows, and she takes a bit of pride in that. She is a quintessential introvert. Mekhala loves tea but cannot make a good cup of tea and often ends up having coffee. She claims that she takes all adjectives as compliments unless specified otherwise. Mekhala is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grade 2 & 3, as a part of Teach For India Fellowship. And has worked as an independent consultant for a couple of years.
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