Having routines can be essential for families. Routines enable us to complete chores and can free up more time for having fun. Some sort of routine helps to ensure everybody gets ready in the morning, housework gets done and meals are made at the appropriate times throughout the day.
But there's more to adhering to than practical convenience. Routines are a way of educating your children and allowing them to understand what’s important and why. Something as straightforward as a regular get-together with relatives can become established as a family ritual that helps to build a sense of belonging and familial cohesion.
Although children's individual propensity for routine varies it has been suggested that a certain amount can benefit a child in a variety of ways. Consistency encourages healthy habits in young children. Boring tasks such as brushing teeth can become an automatic response to being in the bathroom as a child reaches for their best toothpaste and brush.
And a predictable home environment can help a child feel safe and secure. Routines often prove to be particularly helpful for children with certain disabilities especially those which result in them finding it difficult to cope with change and feeling insecure in unfamiliar surroundings.
Not only do routines help to develop certain life skills, such as a sense of responsibility or time management, they can also create sacred time for spending with loved ones. A ritual revolving around shared enjoyment, such as reading a book together before bedtime can strengthen family bonds and become an important time of togetherness that helps to build family relationships.
It’s helpful too to bear in mind that routines shouldn’t be set in stone. Children will naturally challenge some rituals or simply outgrow them and family structures can also alter. Flexible family time and being open to adapting existing routines can avoid many unnecessary altercations. Reluctance to relinquish some rituals purely because of parental preference can fracture familial relationships. There’s little point in forcing a family tradition that has long been outgrown by a teenage child. Build stronger bonds instead with compromise and mutual respect.
There are no set rules about what routines you should have. Every family is different and functions in its own unique way. What works well for one family could prove to be too prohibitive for another. So choose your own unique and evolving rituals that work for your particular family unit.