The Importance of Routine for Kids

According to Dr. Peter Gorski of Harvard Medical School, knowing what to expect from daily life can develop a child’s confidence. Here are some other reasons a routine is important for children:

  • Routine helps children to understand and cope with change. This might sound counterintuitive at first, but a stable routine gives a child a safe environment in which to process change in other areas.
  • Routine helps reduce stress and anxiety. By having a predictable routine at home, a child isn’t taken by surprise by things such as getting ready for bed, or what to do after school. Knowing what to expect can help reduce stress.
  • Routine helps children look forward to other things. If your family has a weekly routine of breakfast with the grandparents, it can give your child something pleasant to look forward to throughout the rest of the week.
  • Routine helps develop independence in children. If a child has consistent practice in something, such as brushing their teeth or choosing their outfits, they’ll have greater confidence to do these things on their own and feel a sense of ownership in the process.
  • Routine helps build healthy habits. If you want to support your child in getting more exercise, for example, it can be more easily done if your whole family takes a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. Consistency is key in building habits.

Here are some ways you can start to create routines in your family life, to benefit your child:

  • Build on things your family already does regularly. For example, if your family has a favorite restaurant that you visit more often than others, you may consider going there once a month on the same day of the week.
  • Get your child involved. You may be surprised at what interest your child would like to pursue, or what they’ve always wanted to do more often as a family. This is an ideal way to support your child’s independence and confidence.
  • Start small and be flexible. Family routines are reliable and predictable, but they must also allow for natural changes that every family experiences. Start out with a few small routines and make adjustments as necessary.

Check out our tips on how to start a morning routine for preschool and the importance of schedules.