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Somedays you just want to wake up and do what you want to do, and not worry about getting the kids ready, feeding the dogs, or making a meal on time. After all, you are ruling your life around the clock. You are already worried about getting to work on time, you need to just focus on yourself. So what if the kids miss their breakfast? Too bad if they stayed up late last night, it was only 10 pm. That certainly won’t make a difference. And, you are also planning that quick vacation and the kids are only going to miss 10 days of school. Not a problem, the teacher will give the kids their homework and they can do their work on the vacation. It isn’t a big deal.
Hmm, take a second to think about what just happened in that previous paragraph. The parent is overwhelmed. They just need a breather. They are working, parenting, and planning a vacation. All of those things by themself aren’t too bad one by one. After all, we all need to be able to change things around in our day, week, and our lives. But, we need to consider the impact these changes have on our children. Take a moment and see the impact of these changes on our children and how it may affect their day, week, or life.
Here is my thought process on the idea of keeping kids on a schedule as much as possible.
I know, I know, you have heard it before. “Get your kids on a schedule, it will help.” But, your life is so busy, you can hardly see straight. Well, I want you to really consider the impact of a schedule.
If you are currently working a job, most likely you are on a schedule. You know when to report to your job, you know when your lunchtime is, you know when the end of your day. That is pretty comforting, isn’t it? You know what to expect. You can plan how much time you have to spend on things and this can lead to productivity. The more productive you are, the better your job goes, and in the end, you are happy!
Wouldn’t it stand to be true for your child as well? If they have a schedule and they know what to expect, then they will know they have a specific time for each activity they need to complete during the day. They will feel safe, and it will be comforting. They will have the opportunity to be productive, even if they need more support with this. This will bring happiness to them as well. Of course, this is if things are perfect, but it stands to reason that your child should have a sense of normalcy which brings a feeling of safety for your child. That is reassuring to them that things are right in their world.
If things are “right” in their world, then most likely you won’t have behaviors that can sometimes occur when they are out of their routines. This can lead to tantrums in younger children, crying in slightly older children, and defiance in older children.
According to Kaplan, The Learning Company, you should have a routine for your infant or toddler because it helps them “feel secure in their environment.” They go on to say that the children go on to be “more engaged with their environment and the people around them.” So clearly, this supports young children with their social skills and how they handle change within their homes. This will then support them with changes outside of their home. Allowing time for your child to build up to transitions is really important. When you take the time to give cues that your child can learn so they understand a change is upcoming, you teach your child that a change is coming and this will help reduce bad behavioral responses to change that we can see when the child isn’t prepared for the change in their routine or activity.
Those routines that you build in for your child will teach your child independence and life long habits that will lead to good health and productivity in their life.
Bedtime routines are always ones that are challenging to build, but are so worth it in the end. I remember learning that as a young mother. If I didn’t have my kids on a bed time routine, then I was the one who suffered. I had to deal with bad behaviors the next day because they didn’t have enough sleep. I had to learn to build in procedures to help them transition into their beds. We would have a snack, put on pj’s, read some books, head up to bed and say our prayers, turn the lights down low and say goodnight. The kids had to learn to stay there until they fell asleep, but if we stayed on a schedule, things seemed to go so much better. All of this was challenging, but in the end, they became independent as they got older and we didn’t fight the battle many other parents were fighting, because the expectation was it was sleep time and they were to sleep in their beds.
Morning routines were sometimes rough as well, but they were just as important as the bedtime routines, if not more important. I was the main caregiver when the kids were little. I got the kids ready, most of the time I was the one making them breakfast and feeding them. I was the one packing the bags and putting the kids in their car seats, I was the one who was driving 20+ miles to daycare and then back to work, all before 8 am. If I didn’t have some routines in place, things were not going to go well. Maybe that is your role. Don’t you think a routine would be helpful?
Consider packing bags the night before. Lay outfits out the night before. Plan out breakfast and lunch the night before. I know this adds to your evening, but in the end, your morning should be much less stressful. If outfits are laid out the night before, that is one less thing you need to worry about. You won’t be searching for the elusive sock or shoe at the last minute. You will know where the mittens or the sandals are. Homework will already be in the bag. The pacifier won’t be missing from the diaper bag. The sports uniform will be washed and ready to go. You won’t be wondering where things are because you took care of it the night before.
And, what about that 10 day vacation during the normal school year calendar? Sure, it works for you! But what about your child? Yay, they don’t have to go to school! It is no big deal to you that the teacher has to put together 10 days worth of homework. That is their job. But, do you realize that your child is missing out on valuable instruction? Instruction that they are not going to get a homework packet? Yes, school is a routine. You need to also consider this when you are making decisions that impact your child’s regular school day. You need to consider the fact that the school day doesn’t just consist of some worksheets thrown at your child. It is planned instruction created to teach your child strategies and content that will enable them to be successful in school and beyond. Without that instruction, many children will have learning loss. And, consider the lesson that your child is learning from you. You may not intentionally be teaching them, but the message is that school isn’t important. How can it be if you are going to take 10 days away while school is in session. So, be very careful when you are making decisions with your routines and schedules, because they can have unintentional effects.
Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Give yourself permission to stray from the routines and schedules. But, celebrate when things go right. You will do yourself a favor and your child. Your stress level will be reduced once your routines are in place. Your child will feel safe and secure. This will hopefully help with any unwanted behaviors.
I hope this gave you some insight into the importance of routines and schedules. I know the importance of them in my own life and in my classroom. My students depend on them. I depend on them. My students’ success is dependent on my use of routines and schedules so we can accomplish as much as we can in our day.
I would love to work with you and your child to help develop routines and support your child’s learning. If you are in need of some academic support for your elementary leveled child, feel free to contact me. I specialize in math, reading, and writing. I have had a lot of success supporting students and would love to help your child reach their fullest potential. You can learn more about me at midwesttutor.com. You can reach out directly to me at email@example.com. Feel free to share this with others. I hope you found it informative.