Establishing a Routine

by MJ Fisher

B. Soc. Sc.; GradDip Teaching; Dip. Care and Ed.

Routines are tricky things to develop.  In theory they should be easy to implement; however, they rarely are.  Problematic to the situation is that children respond differently to routines, resulting in adults scratching their heads as to why a routine might work well for one child and not another.  For some children, routines are a guide by which they find stability.  The familiarity of the routine brings them comfort and security.  Polar opposite to the child that loves routines is the one who does nothing but resist the concept of having a timetable to live by.  Prolonged play and flexibility are this type of child’s preferred life approach.  Naturally, the child who laps up routines will make an adult’s life easier; however, there are other factors aside from a child’s natural proclivity to follow a routine that will influence the success adults experience when implementing routines into children’s lives.

 

Other influencing factors

Consistency is a word that is regularly thrown around child psychology circles.  While it is true that consistency is the keystone to altering a child’s behaviour, the reality of always remaining consistent is rarely achievable.  Pressures from the external world frequently have adults on the hop.  Not only do they find themselves needing to guide a child’s routine but also their own to ensure they and the child/children are, for example, out the door by a certain time, arriving at an activity before it is scheduled to begin, or going to sleep to ensure there is enough time to recharge for the upcoming day. 

Because there are so many things to be accomplished every day, adults can find themselves exhausted, battling children left, right and centre when routine requests are not followed.  Knowing...