- Enables you to use your time more productively
- Makes parenting easier because everyone knows what is expected of them
- Provides a sense of security
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Helps to establish self-discipline
- Improved sleep patterns which ensures enough energy to deal with educational, emotional and or physical challenges
- Enables you to structure activities to allow time for fun or family time/ down time in the day as well.
However, establishing a routine can be easier said than done, especially when considering the daily demands placed on parents and children alike. Some people might also find it hard to establish a routine due to physiological reasons such as anxiety or depression which negatively impacts sleep routine and appetite. If you or a family member is experiencing severe symptoms that are currently impacting your ability to maintain a sleep routine, be sure to consult a medical or psychology professional as soon as possible.
How to establish a routine:
Being specific when setting up your routine is important as it provides you with specific goals for you or your family to work towards. For example “wake up early” is very vague and can mean anytime during the morning. “Wake up at 6 am”, sets out a specific time making it easier to set a routine and stick to it on a daily basis. Make sure to also include planning and organisation times needed to perform tasks in your routine (e.g. place school bags by the door and lay out school clothes the night before) to make keeping to routine times easier.
Being specific when developing the routine doesn’t mean you have to time your child brushing their teeth. Be realistic and allow enough time to perform tasks. It is also important to be flexible, especially when first starting. Ask for input from your family members when developing the routine. This will help you to be more realistic in your planning and also make the others feel involved in the process, making it easier to keep them motivated to stick to it.
Monitoring progress while working through the planned routine makes it easier to keep track of the attainment of goals as well as allowing you to amend the routine to make it more realistic or achievable. In addition, keeping track of the progress made helps to keep you motivated to keeping working towards your goals.
Not all goals are as easy or pleasant as others. Keep yourself motivated to achieve such goals by reframing it in the bigger picture, for example, if “I get up early every morning I don’t have to rush to get ready for school and I won’t feel as flustered or get into trouble for arriving late”. Keeping a reward or incentive chart can also help to keep everyone motivated to keep to the daily routine and perform tasks which might be considered as unpleasant.
Keep the routine simple, especially when first staring out. Focus on getting the most important elements established first (e.g. bed times). Other elements can be introduced into the routine at a later time, making it easier to achieve goals and stay motivated to achieve more.
Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and the most effective way to establish a routine is through repetition. When planning the routine, make sure to think about possible disruptions to the routine and the best way to go about dealing with it to minimise interferences.
Discuss the routine with your family to make sure that everyone is aware of what is expected of them and how this will be done. You can make use of visual aids such as pictures to help remind everyone to stay on track. Writing out and placing the routine somewhere everyone in the household can see it can also help everyone to remain motivated and keep to set out tasks and times.
Be a good role model and stick to the routine yourself. Not only will this help to keep your child motivated to keep to the routine, but it will also give you a better understanding of possible disruptions to the routine as well as how hard it can be to practice self-discipline and keep to set out schedules, helping you to be more understanding of your child and the challenges they face.
How long does it take to establish a routine?
This differs for each individual and is also dependent on factors such as the type of new behaviours that needs to be learned, type of distractions present etc. But like most things in life, practise makes perfect and therefore the more you repeat the same behaviour, the quicker it becomes a habit or set routine. When disruptions occur, adapt your routine and begin to re-establish it again as soon as possible.
What to include in the daily routine:
- TV times/ relaxation times
- After school activities times
The benefits of establishing a routine include a happier and more peaceful household for you and your family. While it can be challenging to get into a routine, commitment and consistent practise can help that your routine becomes an almost automatic process, lessening the stress we experience in our daily lives. We will be glad to assist in providing suggestions in how to tailor your routine to best suit you and your family as well as in answering any questions or concerns you might have.