Why family routines are important for kids

  • PublishedFebruary 28, 2017


Routines are habits that are performed regularly and every family needs them to get things moving smoothly. They differ from one home to another as they reflect the dispositions, lifestyle and philosophies of that unit. Many people take family routines for granted, yet they help to organise life and eliminate chaos.


tudies show it is easier to regulate children’s behaviour when there are predictable routines in the family. For instance, it is said that children with regular bedtime routines get to sleep sooner and wake up less frequently during the night than those with less regular routines.

When deciding which routines will work for your family, you need to come up with a written document of the do’s and don’ts in your home and your kids don’t have to be of school going age to understand the family rituals. Begin with simple things such as setting a regular time when children go to bed everyday. You could also consider a simple ritual such as singing them a lullaby or even reading them a storybook just before bedtime.

If yours is a busy family and your schedule is unpredictable, train your nanny to carry on these rituals in your absence and with time, your children will not need a reminder of what is expected of them.

Why family routines are good for children

Daily routines help set our body clocks, especially for children who find it hard to understand or cope with change. For example, bedtime routines help children’s bodies know when it’s time to sleep.

They are a way of teaching children healthy habits like brushing their teeth, washing their hands after using the toilet or even using magic words such as please and thank you.

They help develop basic skills such as organisation, responsibility and time management.

They can help strengthen family relationships between parents and children. Reading a storybook together before bedtime can become a special time for parents and children to bond.

The regularity and continuity of routines can help reduce stress because they provide predictability of events, which is good for the overall health of young children.

It is worth noting that for a family routine to be effective, it should be:

Properly planned. A well-planned routine stipulates the role played by everyone involved and this is communicated to all parties as a fair and acceptable lifestyle.

Consistent. A good routine should be habitual, as this becomes part of an everyday family life. Kids thrive on regularity that may at times seem boring to adults. Daily routines make children feel secure and help them learn about order.

Predictable. In a good routine, things happen in the same order each time. For instance, holidays are important times to develop regular family rituals such as gathering the family together to share a meal at the dinner table or even having special decorations for the house as this helps kids to understand their values and identities.

It would help to get your kids involved as early as possible in order to ease the process of accepting some of the routines you want to introduce to your family. For example, if your family wants to get into the habit of celebrating birthdays by having dinner, you can begin by sharing tasks to your kids for the preparations such as laying the table or even decorating the house.

If you have photos of events that took place when you were younger, you could show them to your kids and although they may not get all of the connections, especially if they are very young, it will still go a long way in helping them build a sense of family traditions and over time, they will understand and embrace it.

Published March 2017…

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