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Back to School and Family Routines
As it’s getting close to Back-to-School time families are starting to think about routines and schedules. Family routines are different from the family schedule and probably more important.
What's the difference? Schedules tell you exactly when something is going to happen.
Routines, on the other hand, consist of the regular actions that occur for a specific event
each time it occurs, such as bedtime, getting ready to go somewhere, or dinner time.
When we put routines in place for our families, it brings a sense of security that children
really need. When kids know what to expect, and know what's expected of them, their
behavior will also improve.
Many times, routines happen naturally in our lives. We go through the same ritual
get ready for bed, for instance, because certain things must be done before we
go to bed.
Other times, routines will have to be learned. Having the kids help set the table,
down to dinner together as a family, and then everyone clearing the table as dinner is
finished would be a family routine that most of us would have to learn.
There are certain event routines that normally benefit every family. Bedtime & morning
routines, getting ready to go somewhere, homework, and mealtimes are included in this
It's impossible for someone else to tell you exactly what these routines should be.
family is different. What works for one may not work for another. I can share some
suggestions to give you an idea of what consists in a routine, but ultimately, you
must create your own family routines with your own family.
Bedtime routines are very important to children. It will help them feel more comfortable
as they go to sleep, so they will fall asleep sooner, get a better night's sleep, and stay in
their own beds all night.
A family may have a bedtime ritual that goes like this:
The kids take a bath (another opportunity for a routine) and put on their pajamas.
they brush their teeth and it's off to bed. Once they're in their beds, mom and dad say
prayers with them, sing them a song of their choice, and give hugs and kisses.
The important thing is that the routines are pretty much the same each night. You can
change up the song or story, for example, but make sure that you sing a song or tell a
story each night, if that is your routine.
Morning routines can vary greatly from family to family, and even from child to child
within one family because of differing schedules. A family with both school-aged
children and toddlers, for example, might have one routine with the older kids and
another with the younger ones who don't wake up until after the older ones are gone to
A family with a stay-at-home parent will most likely have a different routine than
that have two parents working outside the home.
When you do things in the same order each time, it will become habit for your family.
Children will know what's expected of them next. It will save time and frustration for the
Getting Ready to Go Routines
Getting ready to go somewhere can be a chaotic experience if expectations are not set
ahead of time. Give your kids a time frame to get ready and make sure they do not have
to be rushed. That will cause someone to have a meltdown every time!
Try this routine...
Tell the kids that they have five minutes to finish what they are doing, and then
it will be
time to get ready to go. When the five minutes is up, announce that you are setting the
timer for 30 minutes (timers are a mom's best friend!).
Have everything the kids will need set out for them-clothes, socks, shoes. They will
dressed first. Then brush teeth, wash faces, fix hair, and gather anything they need to
take with them.
Give a prize to everyone that gets completely ready before the timer goes off. It
have to be anything fancy-maybe a sticker.
Information adapted from article written by Lisa Poppe, Extension Educator serving Dodge County with University of Nebraska Extension.
More ideas for the family