Posts Tagged "Routine"


If you have been a parent for very many years, you certainly know how well your child does with routines. Knowing what to expect helps him remain calm and in control of his emotions. It lets him know what to expect each day and can even decrease temper tantrums and meltdowns. However, did you know that routines and structure can actually soothe your child’s brain?

How Adults Deal with Decisions Differently than Children

The ability that you have as an adult to remain calm in the face of difficulties and to resist certain impulses while retaining a sense of control over your emotions comes from the working of what is known as your external frontal executive network. Your child does not have this inner working yet and will not fully gain control over his impulses until later in his teenage years. Your ability to create a routine can actually soothe your child’s brain and help him make the right decisions when it comes to academics, bedtime, food choices, and much more.

Routines can also help your child stay away from anxiety. Set schedules create important habits, helping children get through certain parts of their days more quickly while ensuring that they complete their tasks well. They may even be able to sleep better and find more enjoyment in the little things of life.

Structure Reduces Anxiety

All routines add structure to the day. They take away the need to make thousands of little decisions and help your child decrease stress by adding predictability to any given situation. When children do not have to expend valuable energy and emotions on smaller decisions, they will feel more in control of themselves when making larger decisions, such as whether they should go over to a friend’s house.

Even if you know very little about executive function, you have surely noted how much better you are able to resist your impulses when compared to your elementary-aged child. By putting routines and daily structures into place, you are providing the firm foundation your child needs to remain in control of his own actions. In turn, you are providing a soothing environment in which your child can grow and thrive. Once your child reaches adulthood, he will be able to put some of these same routines to work for him and will discover that they help to decrease his stress and anxiety at work and in social situations.


Now that summer is in full swing, you may be wondering how you are going to deal with having your children home with you for the next two to three months. What seemed like a great way to bond and to enjoy family fun may now seem like an overwhelming task of keeping your children happy and busy when it seems as if they have nothing to do. The benefit of the school months is that children have routines that they follow at least five days each week. They go to bed and wake up at the same time. Meals are normally at the same time, and extracurriculars usually happen on a schedule.

Summer Activities and Routines

During the summer, most of these activities are on a break. While children can certainly benefit from a little downtime that gives them a chance to use their imaginations and engage in social play, they may not benefit from the lack of routine in their lives. Therefore, it is up to you to build the right amount routine to give your children the security and self-control they need.

  • Create new sleep times. While your bedtimes and wake-up times may be different than they were during the school year, they should still be regular.
  • Create time for your children to be by themselves. Playtime is important, but children still need time to be quiet and to think. This gives them time to let their imaginations run free.
  • Create new weekly activities. Perhaps you can go to the library or the park on a certain day each week. The good news for you is that you may now be able to add in more regular weekly chores for your children to help you out around the house.
  • Create time for learning. Depending on your child, you may be able to keep up their learning with bookwork from a simple textbook. However, learning can happen outdoors, in the kitchen, in the garage, or nearly anywhere you go.

The benefits of routines for children cannot be overstated. Young children, in particular, feel much safer and more secure with a routine. Children do not have to fear the unknown when they know exactly what to expect. Routines also aid in creating a calmer household, giving children self-confidence, building healthy habits, bringing siblings and parents together, helping children look forward to favorite activities, and creating realistic expectations for everyone.


Sleep is incredibly important for people of all ages but is especially vital for children who need sleep to grow and stay healthy. In infancy, children spend more time asleep than they do awake, but this changes by the age of two. Still, sleep remains incredibly important, and children of all ages require more sleep each night than adults do. If you are concerned that your child may not be sleeping as he should or that your child is not getting enough sleep, put these healthy sleep tips to work for you.

Create a Bedtime Routine

Nearly every child loves routines and thrives on days when things go much the same as they always do. A bedtime routine can help children know what to expect, can give them a sense of calm and can help them quiet down before the lights go out. What you choose to be a part of your bedtime routine is up to you. Just be sure that it is something that you can maintain longterm. For example, you may want to use bath time, reading time, singing or rocking as part of your child’s nightly routine.

Know How Much Sleep Your Child Needs

Sleep needs for children change as they grow. At a very young age, sleep needs are met through bedtime and one or more naps. By school age, children should be getting all of their necessary sleep at night.

  • Infants younger than three months need 14 to 17 hours of sleep daily.
  • Infants from 4 to 11 months require 12 to 15 hours of sleep.
  • Toddlers to the age of two need 11 to 14 hours.
  • Preschoolers under the age of five need 10 to 13 hours.
  • School-age children need 9 to 11 hours
  • Teenagers to the age of 17 need 8 to 10 hours.

Focus on Foods and Exercise

High quality sleep is about more than the time your child spends in bed. The foods and drinks he consumes and the activities he participates in during the day determine the quality of his sleep. Be sure to avoid products containing caffeine, including chocolate, in the afternoon and evening. In addition, daily exercise can help tire children out for bedtime.

Your child will be able to take these healthy sleeping habits into adulthood. Quality sleep can help with playtime, school time and work as your child grows.