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How to establish healthy routines for your child, the step by step guide

It’s 7 a.m., Olli Simmons is up and eating her breakfast. Then she is getting ready for preschool, and gets on the school bus at 8 a.m. She comes home from pre-school at 3 p.m., snack time at 3:30 p.m., nap time at 4 p.m., and has play time from 5 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. She then takes a bath, and has dinner at 6 p.m. Olli is a 5 year old who thrives on having a set schedule in her day, just like clockwork.

The Simmons routines may seem a bit ridged, but studies have shown that children with set routines make them feel secure, and focused. Why? Because a lot is changing in your growing child’s world. Language, social, motor skills, plus at school they are learning math, art, music and dance. These are all great things, but when they are on rapid fire learning new skills, the child can easily become overwhelmed. “Your child needs some consistency in her day, a predictable sequence that lets her explore the world without worry,” says Victoria Fleming PhD, a child and family therapist in Northbrook, Illinois.

5 big advantages in a structured day:

  1. Your child will gain confidence.

  2. No more bedtime battles.

  3. Learning the concept of time.

  4. Your child may have fewer meltdowns.

  5. It helps moms and dads get through the day.

As young children from ages 4-9 are growing cognitive, social and motor skills, set routines help eliminate fear and anxiety because once they have repeated events happening, they can feel free to explore their world around them more. They become more open to trying new activities like playing with other children, playing on the swings in the park, and eating new types of foods. As an adult, we have our own set schedules too. Imagine how your work day would be like if you don’t have all your meetings and due dates on your calendar!

For children, it’s much simpler and much more fun. Here’s a sample daily routine to set for your kids.

6:30 a.m. Wake up, change diaper, and play in the crib or your bed

7:30 a.m. Breakfast

8:00 a.m. Go to preschool

3:00 p.m. Come home, outdoor play/walk

5:30 p.m. Dinner

6:00 p.m. Playtime and cleanup

7:00 p.m. Have a bath/brush teeth

7:30 p.m. Pajamas, story time, lullabies

8:15 p.m. Bedtime

Always take it easy with living by the clock. We can be flexible and have a routine at the same time. Remember to have fun with your kids, enjoy every moment of it, especially the growing pains. Explore, experiment, try new routines with your children. That’s the only way to figure out your child’s happiest routines.

Here are some more helpful resources to help in your child’s development and health:

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