Routines Support the Family

A mother crouches to her young daughter and smiles while her daughter holds a teddy bear.

If your schedule in December was anything like mine, our routines were really mixed up. We spent more time celebrating with family and friends and our eating and sleeping schedules were more flexible than usual. 

When holidays are over, getting back to a regular schedule or routine can provide the structure and safety that most families appreciate. When children have an understanding of the routines, they can manage their feelings and behaviors, because they will know what to expect, or what is happening next.

When we throw the schedule out the window and don’t get enough rest, or forget to eat, sleep and exercise at regular intervals, that will impact our mood and behaviors! According to research reported in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, parents who follow daily routines may benefit from time management skills and a reduction in attention difficulties. The same study also suggests that children who know what to expect on a daily basis are more likely to feel a sense of family stability than those who experience randomness in schedule.

Children and families who have enjoyed a few days break from school and work must now settle back into the familiar routine again. Children and youth do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent. A study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics reports that family routines support children and their emotional development. And it is the social / emotional health that enables children to thrive in the classroom.

Routines that include singing, bedtime snacks, storytelling and connection with family caregivers is helpful for a good night’s rest. The nurturing we do to help children adjust to everyday routines is proving to be helpful for long term adjustment in both school and home settings. Take a moment to think about just one thing you could to do to help the adjustment back to routine in either your home or school setting.

Barb Dunn Swanson

Barb Dunn Swanson

With two earned degrees from Iowa State University, Barb is a Human Sciences Specialist utilizing her experience working alongside communities to develop strong youth and families! With humor and compassion, she enjoys teaching, listening and learning to learn!

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