Ask The Principal

Articles supplied by Carol Booth of
Cannons Creek Independent School

Is a routine really that important
with regard to children?

Yes! Routine starts off from when children are born. In the beginning it is just to get the feeding and sleeping pattern sorted so that the Mum can organise her life and get some precious sleep. Once your child becomes the toddler, routine provides not only security but assists the family in having a harmonious life together.

The routine of waking in the morning sets the tone for the day. In the beginning Mum has to help with the process of dressing, brushing hair and teeth till eventually they can do it on their own, with pride. Once this has been done, early morning school days are not the nightmare that some experience. The secret here is to praise your child from the very beginning for achieving the steps of becoming independent.

Whilst your toddler is at home, organise a routine. This will not only make your day more organised but will set the tone for future years to come. Children are better behaved when they have something to do so organise a time for ‘free play’, shopping, painting, reading etc. In all these activities, have a routine. For example, when shopping your child will know that they sit on the trolley seat, assist you with looking for the item from their ‘list’, let them help with unpacking their items once you are at home, they can again assist with the packing away the items into the cupboards.

Not only do they learn what items you eat and where they are stored, they learn that the task is only completed once all the items have been packed away. When mealtimes arrive, they can again assist by getting some of the ingredients as they will know where it is packed away.

When your child returns home from playgroup, pre-school or primary school, a routine needs to be in place. There is a time for playing (and packing away), eating, homework time and relaxing. If one starts this from the beginning, the routine is part of life and your child will understand that that is the schedule for the day and will find security in that. For example: upon returning home from school everyone has a drink, a chat about school, your child changes out of their school clothes and then gathers around the dining room table for homework time. Your child will see this time as special and you will also there to assist with any questions. Once homework has been completed, you pack the items needed for the next day and then it is time for ‘free play’.

At a same time each evening, your child will bath, be ready for supper, a quiet activity and then a story and bed. One does not have to make everyday the same. The routine would change for sport, play dates but when they return home, the routine starts off immediately. Children learn from their parents and it is therefore important to have your meal times around the table. The routine of mealtimes - where not only do they learn table manners and the art of conversation, they also partake in the bonding of the family and information about all the things happening around the world.

Bedtimes also become a pleasure. Your child will know that each day ends with a meal, quiet time (e.g. board game with the family), bath time and then bed with a story at the same time each night

If your child is ready, they can partake in the cooking process where not only do they learn how to prepare a meal, they are bonding with Mum (or Dad if he is cooking) and conversation during this time adds vocabulary so it is a win-win situation all round. This ensures that the parents can then have ‘parent time’ together as they are the most important foundation of the family. Happy parents create happy children.

Articles supplied by Carol Booth of Cannons Creek Independent School
© 2009 This material is Copyrighted and may not be used without the direct permission of the Author.