Fall is the time to set a daily routine for a year (lifetime) of success. There are many benefits to creating a routine for your child. Here are a few:
- Routine can teach and enforce healthy habits like good hygiene, exercise and quiet time.
- Having a predictable routine helps young people feel safe and secure.
- Routines that include fun and spending time together as a family can strengthen relationships between children and parents.
- Daily routines help set the body’s clock, a bedtime routine will help children anticipate when it is time to sleep. An efficient morning routine will help eliminate stress.
- Routines that involve daily chores will help children develop a sense of responsibility.
- Routines help develop basic work skills and time management.
- As children change over the years having a predictable family routine will keep them feeling safe and give them a sense of belonging.
What should be included in a child’s daily routine?
An established routine will allow children some independence without you having to stress out over what still needs to be done. Before leaving their room children should get dressed and make their bed, then use the bathroom, wash hands and brush teeth. Come to the kitchen to eat breakfast, get shoes on and pack their backpacks. Is there time for outside play, quite reading or TV?
Below is a printable chart for younger children to stay on track. Or have some fun and create a morning routine that works for your family, and print out your own cards or chart.
The afternoon is a great time to connect with your kids. Having a routine will make sure this time is not lost to bad habits. Kids just like grown-ups need a little time to relax after school. A few simple tricks can help make this easy.
Kids should put their things away. Having a place for them to put their coats and backpacks will make life much easier. Once this is done they should use the bathroom and wash their hands. During an afternoon snack children can share papers and work they’ve brought home as they talk about their day.
Next is a little more individualized. Some children will be okay to start in on their homework, where others may need to work off some energy and play. Children need a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise per day. It is not safe to assume that they meet this requirement at school.
Before dinner, children should have time to play and complete their homework. They should also be helping with simple chores like setting the table.
If you are a working parent and your child is in an aftercare program, great. They can still do many of these things in aftercare. There is time to complete homework, read, play and exercise. Discuss your routine and goals with your child as well as their aftercare teacher. Involving the teacher in your expectations of your child will help to ensure success. When you get home, put away your things from the day and take a moment to connect over papers they’ve brought home and check their homework. As dinner is prepared, have them help set the table and take care of any additional chores.
Research has shown numerous benefits to eating dinner together as a family at least 4 times during the week. Family dinners have been linked to a lower risk of obesity, substance abuse, eating disorders, and an increased chance of graduating from high school. This is an opportunity for parents to teach healthy communication skills to children by asking questions and listening to answers. Parents can share family values while discussing age appropriate current events and telling stories that teach relevant lessons.
Everyone can play a role in a successful family dinner routine. From menu planning to grocery shopping there is a lot that goes into making this work during the week. In addition to setting the table and helping prepare food, children should also be helping to clear the table and put the dishes in the dishwasher.
The bedtime routine will include hygiene. Using the bathroom, brushing hands and teeth, possibly a bath or shower. Bedtime should also include quiet reading time either with a parent or independently. A routine will help to alleviate some of the stress around lights out.
Make a School Year’s Resolution
To empower parents with practical advice to support their child’s overall development, NBC News Education Nation is sharing a free Parent Toolkit so you can support the students in your life who are preparing to go back to school. Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, another family member or even a teacher, you can help make a difference.
Make a School Year’s Resolution with the Parent Toolkit community and be entered to win gift cards for back‐to‐school supplies. Share your School Year Resolution and join the community by visiting ParentToolkit.com.