Why are Schedules, Routines and Consistency So Important, Right Now?
Let’s reflect on the current scene for a moment. Many of us are parents or teachers working at home. Our children or students are schooling at home. Many of us are to remain socially distanced resulting in a loss of the activities that helped us maintain our health, social interactions and daily structure. The need sets in our homes have quadrupled and the resources have shifted. We are all wearing more hats with more duties and responsibilities. Yet, it’s okay, we are all here to help one another. Together we will get through this. Let’s begin by talking about creating a home environment where we can all thrive.
“I believe we will be better, more connected, brighter, less judgmental more caring human beings on the other side of this.”
Let’s establish some New Routines.
Routines are central to maintaining calm and consistency during “crisis schooling”.
Routines help create a predictable environment in which we can all learn, thrive and grow. Routines keep you out of “damage control” by using future vision, planning and previewing. Routines enhance a sense of personal mastery and they allow children to develop independence and new problem-solving skills. When children live with predictable routines, they feel empowered, confident and competent. Even teens need routines. Routines keep everyone safe.
How Can Routines Help My Family?
Routines enhance collaboration and cooperation within your family. When you take the time to talk with children about what they will do when and in what order, they have the opportunity to make age-appropriate choices and feel like they are an integral part of “the team.”
Routines decrease power struggles. When children know “the routine” they rely on you less to tell them what is expected and they learn to rely more on themselves. If the evening hygiene routine is take a bath, wash your hair, brush your teeth, and put your jammies on, there is no bossing your kids around, getting upset, feeling irritated or being frustrated. The routine is just what they do, the same way, pretty much all the time.
Routines foster task completion. Children are generally productive, they like being busy and doing things. That’s why they’re always asking you, “Can we go to the park,” or “Can we play outside?” When routines are well-established it’s easy to respond, “We sure can go outside, after we finish clearing the table, washing the dishes and putting them in the dishwasher like we do every night.”
Routines foster independence. When routines are consistent, children are able to successfully complete expected tasks and activities without prompts, cues or warnings. This enhances children’s confidence and self-esteem.
Routines help children stay on task. Some children are distracted easily, they focus on compelling stimuli like television, computers and technology, leading them to get “off-task.” Routines tell a child’s brain, first we do this, then we do that, enhancing the child’s ability to begin, execute and complete tasks of every-day living.
Today, in light of the shift in our lives, we need to proactively create new routines.
- Talk with your family members, partner or spouse about what your daily routines will look like.
- How are they shifting from what you were previously doing?
- What can remain the same?
- What actions will you take to bring thoughtful, consistent new routines to your home?
- What are some parts of your routine that help your family feel safe and calm? Let’s talk about those next as you get to planning, previewing and schedule your temporary new life.
Related to this educational series, Wendy Young at Kidlutions wrote a helpful post with a FREE downloadable printable. Find it HERE.