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Family Routines

Some routines is helpful for all families. It helps you get through the things that need to be done each day, and can also build your family bonds. A good routine caters for the needs of all family members.

The basics: Routines are how families organise themselves to get things done, spend time together and have fun. Every family has its own unique routines. Routines help family members know who should do what, when, in what order and how often.

For example, your family might have:
- daily routines for getting everyone ready in the morning, bath time, bedtime and mealtimes, greetings and goodbyes.
- weekly routines for housework, like washing and cleaning
- other routines involving holidays and extended family get togethers.

Family life might be more chaotic without some routine, but there's more to it than that. Routines also let your children know what's important to your family. Highly meaningful routines are sometimes called rituals. These can help strengthen your shared beliefs and values, and build a sense of belonging and cohesion in families.

What routines are good for children?

Some children like and need routine more than others. In general, though, routine has the following benefits for children:
- They can be a way of teaching younger children healthy habits, like brushing their teeth, getting some exercise, or washing their hands after using the toilet.
- An organised and predictable home environment helps children and young people feel safe and secure
- Routines built around fun or spending time together strengthen relationship between parents and children. Reading a story together before bed or going for a special snack after soccer practice can become a special time for you and your children to share.
- Daily routines help set our body clocks. For example, bedtime routines help children's bodies 'know' when it's time to sleep. This can be particularly helpful when children reach adolescence and their body clocks start to change.
- If your child needs to take medicine regularly, a routine for this will help make both of you less likely forget.
- Having an important job to do in the family routine helps older children and teenagers develop a sense of responsbility.
- Routines help develop basic work skills and time management.
- Routines can help promote a feeling of safety in stressful situations or during difficult stages of development.

Why routines are good for parents

Routines take some effort to create. But once established, they have lots of benefits:
- They free up time for you to think about other things while you work.
- Regular and consistent routines can help you feel like you’re doing a good job as a parent.
- When things are hectic, routines can help you feel more organised, which lowers stress
- A routine will help you complete your daily tasks efficiently.
- As children get better at following a routine by themselves, you can give fewer instructions and nag less.
- Routines free you from having to constantly resolve disputes and make decisions. If Sunday night is pizza night, no-one needs to argue about what’s for dinner.

Older children and teenagers might grow out of, or challenge, some routines. Being flexible and adapting routines as your children get older can help with this issue. For example, changing routines for teenagers could be linked to milestones, such as them getting their first part-time job.

Kinds of routines

The routines adopted by families are as diverse as families themselves. Here are some routines you might want to consider for your family.

Age groupYou could have a routine for:
Toddlers and preschoolers
  • Getting ready in the morning
  • Going to bed at night
  • Regular ‘playdates’
  • Eating meals
  • Regular play and talk times with a parent each day
  • Story time (book reading)
  • Quiet time each evening
School-age children
  • Hygiene and health – for example, brushing teeth and washing hands
  • Tidying up, looking after toys
  • Caring for pets
  • Regular ‘playdates’
  • Pocket money, given at a regular time and day
  • Helping with the laundry
  • After-school activities
  • Chores – for example, setting the dinner table, packing away, unpacking the dishwasher
  • Hobbies or sport
Teenagers
  • Using family resources like the computer and telephone
  • Doing laundry or other chores
  • Homework
  • Hobbies or sport
  • After-school activities
  • Making beds and cleaning rooms
All ages
  • Preparing and eating meals together
  • Family days (family activities)
  • Family DVD nights
  • Family meetings
  • Taking turns talking about the day
  • Special one-to-one time with a parent
  • Regular contact with extended family and friends
  • National/state/local celebration days, annual fetes or outings
  • Saying prayers or observing religious events

 

Resourced: www.hubhello.com/#hubwiki/articles/129