by Belinda Breeze

Routine is beneficial to children because it provides them with a sense of predictability in their life. Putting a back-to-school schedule in place allows children to feel secure, particularly with new activities occurring, new patterns emerging, and new habits forming as children grow. When kids have regular habits in place, they can handle these changes with less stress.

Here are a few routine-setting tips to consider:

1 Explain the routines to your children. To ensure they have understood, have them repeat the routines back to you.

2 Display a chart on the wall. A visual representation of your daily routines can assist everyone in the household in understanding what needs to happen and when.

3 Maintain consistency. Even if you’re weary or overwhelmed as a parent, stick to your routines as much as possible.

4 Make desired activities the most appealing option. If you wish to include new activities into your routine, such as eating fruit as a bedtime snack, make those activities the most enticing options at the time.

Explain routines to your children and slowly introduce new habits

5 Plan ahead of time to restrict your decision-making in the heat of the moment. For example, keep a variety of healthy snack alternatives on hand to make it easier to get nourishment on the go.

6 Slowly introduce one or two new habits over time. Making little changes to your family’s routine will give you the best opportunity of creating long-lasting, beneficial patterns.

One of the most important routines is in the morning, and should go something like this:

1 Wake up at the same time every day

2 Go to the bathroom

3 Sit down for breakfast

4 Clean up the breakfast dishes

5 Brush teeth

6 Put on school clothes

Provide clear expectations and simple step-by-step instructions, praising your child at the completion of each step.

After school, extra-curricular activities are a great way for children to get active, socialise, and discover something new, but how many activities are too many? There is no right answer to this, but the key thing is to ask yourself whether your child’s extracurricular activities are negatively affecting their life. So consider:

1 Can they still get all of their homework?

2 Do they still have leisure time to spend with their friends?

3 Do they get at least eight hours of sleep every night? If not, it’s probably time to dial back the scheduled activities.

Finally, bedtime is key for incorporating a workable routine into a child’s life and can be one of the hardest transitions, with youngsters possibly accustomed to going to sleep later and/or waking up later during the summer. Consequently, consider the following points:

1 Provide clear expectations and simple step-by-step instructions, praising your child at the completion of each step.

2 Visual reminders can help your child have something to refer to as she goes about her routine.

3 Most kids want more time watching their favourite TV show or finishing that last level of a video game, so setting time limits is a great way to create boundaries. Putting in the effort to assist your child in developing positive routines now can help them create go-to healthy habits that they will have in their back pocket for the rest of their lives.