As adults, we develop routines for nearly everything in our lives. Routines dictate when we wake up, when we eat our meals, when we go to work and come home, and when we finally decide to lie down for bed at the end of the day. Without routines, it is difficult for us to structure our lives and be successful individuals.
In the case of children, however, who don’t depend on this structure, are kids’ routines just as important? Should a child’s life be scheduled accordingly, or should it have no form and instead be free of constraints?
Children May Need Kids’ Routines to Function Well
Although it may seem harmless to leave your child’s life entirely without structure until they start going to school, this may, in fact, be detrimental to their overall development throughout their younger years. For one, having a children’s routine will help your child eliminate any existing anxiety, which can often develop if a child is unsure of what they will be doing throughout the day, or when they will be doing it. Additionally, having routine in your child’s life will help develop self-discipline and responsibility; by having your child engage in certain activities at certain times, they will understand the importance of adhering to this schedule, which can be an extremely important attribute later on in life.
Furthermore, if your child is able to follow his or her routine on their own, this can build a strong sense of independence as well. Each time that your child sticks to his or her routine, he or she will feel successful, thus resulting in a sense of confidence and overall happiness.
Routine is Important, but There Should Still Be Room for Improvisation
Of course, it is strongly suggested by many that children have a specific children’s routine to follow each day when it comes to bed times, meal times, and other such activity. That being said, overscheduling a child’s day and asking them to always adhere to a strict schedule can actually cause anxiety, instead of reducing it, and may even result in other negative manifestations. If your child is required to always abide by a strict schedule, this may eliminate his or her sense of creativity and imagination, a hugely important part of a child’s younger years. Additionally, filling your child’s routine without leaving any free time can cause anxiety and unhappiness; your child may feel like he or she cannot step out of the confines of the day and explore other things.
Keep a Routine but Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things
In light of the pros and cons of a routine, it is important to find a schedule that ultimately works best for you and your children. You may want to keep the same meal and bed times each day, but mix up other activities in order to prevent stagnation. Or, if your child benefits from more structure, expand the routine, but make sure to leave some free time to inspire creativity, imagination, and a wandering spirit within your little one.