There are so many benefits of routines for kids that it’s hard to fit them all in. Routines are good for moods, attitudes, order, and more!
I have learned a few things from experience…
When it comes to mothering, there is a “routine” mindset and a “go with the flow” mindset.
You probably don’t have to guess which type of mindset I am… especially with my Type A personality.
I believe the reason that so many people seem against routine is that they believe us Type A-ers value the routine just because they like a routine.
Routine Vrs. Stuck in a Rut
It may look to people with no routine that routine followers are slaves to the routine, as opposed to the routine serving us.
I read a quote somewhere to the effect of “you don’t live for the routine, it’s what helps you get through the day.”
That’s how I view routine. Routine is a mechanism for helping me survive the day with some semblance of order.
If you run a red light, you get a ticket. Not because the police just really love red lights. How dare you offend one? That isn’t the case at all…
But, since the practice of running red lights is dangerous, there is a rule in place to prevent you from endangering yourself and others.
It isn’t that we have a schedule for the sake of the schedule. We have a schedule because – for our family – it is dangerous to do without.
By dangerous I mean that I get moody, impatient, irritable without a routine and so do the kids.
Want to know how a routine brings sanity?
5 Top Benefits of Routines
Now that we’ve established that having routines is not just helpful for people who enjoy them, let’s discuss the real benefits.
We’ve all been the mom in the picture above… it’s time to talk about the benefits of routines.
Below you will find the top 5 benefits of routines, some real life stories, and examples of how to implement routine in your own home.
1. You can schedule what needs to happen.
When you are home with children there is always a lot to be done… eating, cleaning up, diapers, potty breaks, activities, cleaning, chores, not to mention fun things.
While there is no way to get everything done all the time, having a schedule means that you plot in your necessary activities in an achievable and feasible way!
You’ll love the peace of mind that you get when you aren’t left with 1,356 things to do when you’ve finally – finally – got the kids into bed.
I’ve recently created printable signs (similar to these but with activities that fit our own home). They hang in almost every room of the house.
My husband is able and kind enough to help with their breakfast routine (more on how to encourage your husband to effectively help here). Making life happen around a routine benefits us all because even if I’m not the one doing it, things still get done.
2. Kids can get so used to it they go on autopilot…sort of.
This summer we’ve been having the time of our lives in Florida… so I’ve let some our previous routines go. In exchange, we’ve adopted a new and temporary one…. which is totally fine.
When we return to our “normal” lives in a few weeks things will change again. However, no matter where we are, when a routine is in effect… kids just pretty much do what comes next.
Furthermore, even when they may not like it… they accept the routine. In fact, particularly when they may not like it, it becomes nature and accepted for them.
Real Life Truths About Routines
- If your child isn’t terribly fond of nap time, but they know that they’re going to have it anyway…they are able to prepare themselves since they know it’s coming.
- If it is routine in your family to finish your plate before getting up from the table, kids don’t expect any different. So, they don’t fuss or gripe about their situation.
- If it is routine for your kids to “catch a bubble” when your phone rings… there’s no trouble when it comes to catching your phone call. My kids actually police each other on this one.
For almost every activity we do in our normal routine the kids just follow my lead easily. Now, this doesn’t mean they’re always happy about it. They are, in fact, children.
But, I’ve found it is much easier to fit everything in and transition from activity to activity when they know what is next.
3. When you are at the end of your creativity and spunk, you can rely on your established routine.
Some days by 9:00 AM I am already ready to be relieved of duty…
This is true even though we don’t even get up until 7:30 AM!
On those days when I think I may not survive, the routine is actually what helps me survive. I don’t have to “think” of something fun to do. My routine is a fail safe… that works every time!
Even better, I don’t have to shove them in front of the TV for 5 hours just to pass the time.
I can decide to scrap the routine and take a field trip if I want just to liven things up. But… if I am not up to a trip, then I can just float through the day on the routine while still accomplishing things.
Also, children pick up on our moods. Having an established routine helps to keep things in order when various circumstances and situations can try to bring chaos.
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4. You know what time of the day works best for extras.
Let me explain….
I love knowing what times of day are best for appointments, outings and activities. Because we follow a routine, I can normally say between 12:30 and 4:30 we are out of commission.
The older kids are both sleeping, I’m resting or working and my youngest is either feeding or sleeping himself.
If we absolutely had to skip a nap we could, but I know that my children are used to sleep and can tend to get cranky if they skip it.
Now, if they skipped it to go to Disney World, they’d cope. If they skipped it to go to a play date, they would end up whining instead of playing.
I can make appointments in time slots that are convenient for me, and I know that just because we take a 30 minute car ride, it doesn’t mean that is their nap for the day.
The benefits of routines are just that… knowing when things are supposed to happen and giving your kids the added benefit of security and reliance.
Take this tip… if kids have regular naps, they shouldn’t fall asleep every time they’re in the car (unless they’re in the car during nap time).
Listen ladies, I do not relinquish a 3 hour nap slot to a 30 minute car ride. You shouldn’t either!
5. Kids respond well to consistency and order.
Last… but not least! Also, very important… children actually thrive on routine!
From my experience, a little bit of fun spontaneity is a good thing, but day after day of unending spontaneity (aka, lack of planning) creates an atmosphere that lacks stability.
Now, that could be that I am the one who perceives the lack of stability and order. That is probably true. However, I’m the mom and if I feel our house isn’t in working order then it all goes downhill.
My children are generally well-behaved, compliant and happy, and I believe this is due in large part to our routine.
If we never deviated from our routine we’d be stifled. If we deviated so much we never had one we’d be overwhelmed. Again, balance is key.
- Our routine doesn’t stop us from having fun and going places and seeing the world.
- It simply helps us survive 90% of our days which are at home.
- Routine helps us get things done and have a house that isn’t imploding or exploding.
- It helps us feel still – even just a little bit – connected to the old us that was able to get things done just because they were on a list. (I don’t know about you, but sometimes I miss that!)
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