The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

November 23, 2013

The power of routines for children

RICHMOND — Most adults have general routines that they follow which give their day a bit of structure and predictability. For example, a morning routine can consist of turning off the alarm clock, going to the bathroom, taking a shower, getting dressed, and then eating breakfast.

The wonderful part of a well-practiced routine is that you don’t have to devote much mental energy to get it completed. These types of routines are particularly well suited for the beginning and ending of a day.

While too much of the same routine with little variation can get boring, most adults yearn for a bit of predictability given the dynamics of an ever-changing world.

Children have even more of a need for routines and predictability. Routines provide children with a sense of certainty and comfort while they negotiate all of the various demands required to grow up successfully.

As parents, there are several steps that can be taken to ensure your child develops well-established routines.

Just like adults, morning and evening routines are typically the most valuable. They are also some of the most challenging times of the day for parents.

Both the morning and evening are when many children have low mental energy which can make them resistant to tasks that require mental exertion.

Gradually moving children into predictable routines during these times will reduce oppositional behavior and melt downs.

Establishing a routine first requires a basic script. A routine script is a lot like a movie script in that it details what needs to be done in a particular order.

A bed-time routine script could consist of the children going to the bathroom and taking a shower. Once the shower is complete, the children need to hang up their bathroom towels and go to their bedrooms to put on their pajamas. After their pajamas are on, they need to go back into the bathroom and brush their teeth.

Once completed, they need to go to their bedroom and let their parents know they are ready for bed. Their parents then come up and kiss the children good night before turning out the lights.

Most children will not be able to do a bed-time routine like the one above right away.

All routines take time to develop.

Posting all of the steps in a routine in the bathroom and bedroom can help children remember what steps are next. For children who are still learning to read, the steps can be a series of pictures highlighting each step in the routine.

During the first couple of weeks of establishing a bed-time routine, parents should supervise the process and offer encouragement for each step that is followed.

Eventually parents will need to offer less and less encouragement as the routine begins to stick.

Once a basic bed-routine is established, it can be expanded upon to incorporate more of the evening.

Parents will find that their nightly battles in getting their children to bed will become less and less frequent. 

Not only has the establishment of a bed-time routine helped the children; it has helped the parents too.

Other routines can be established during other times of the day following the same basic principles of establishing a routine script, practicing the routine while offering encouragement, and finally having a well-established routine. It will be worth the effort.

Dan Florell, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at Eastern Kentucky University and has a private practice, MindPsi (www.mindpsi.net). Praveena Salins, M.D., is a pediatrician at Madison Pediatric Associates (www.madisonpeds.com). 

1
Text Only
Lifestyles & Community
  • Amanda-Sears-c.jpg Cicada-killer wasps are here

    The extension office has received numerous phone calls over the past couple of weeks about large wasps hovering in yards all over the county.
    This insect is called the cicada killer, and despite its aggressive name, it is not something to be scared of.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brandon-Sears-c.jpg Converting from year-round calving to a controlled breeding season

    Maintaining a controlled breeding and calving season can be one of the most important management tools for cow-calf producers.
    Uniform, heavier and more valuable calves are key reasons to keep the breeding season short.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 Nostalgia-Glenmore.jpg Paper boys learned life, business lessons

    I often flash back to the days from the mid to late 1930s when I was a paper boy.
    There were 10 or 12 of us who rolled out of bed at 5 a.m. every day, jumped on our bicycles and headed downtown to the Glyndon Hotel and picked up our papers for delivery.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick-Ham.jpg Here’s why teachers aren’t paid enough

    The following were included in last year’s exams and were answered by 16-year-old high school students. The answers are genuine, and we must remember that these youngsters will grow up to vote, marry and become parents. It’s a scary thought.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-24 4-H Entries 1.jpg 4-H exhibits are family affair for the Houstons

    Five children from the same family were the first to bring their 4-H exhibits Wednesday to the Madison County Fairgrounds.

    July 24, 2014 5 Photos

  • 7-22 Band Camp 1.jpg Band students ‛take over’ MCHS campus

    The Madison Central High School campus has been “taken over” for two weeks by 170 students attending band camp.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • Dr-Jack-Rutherford.jpg Warning labels needed on energy drinks

    The popularity of energy drinks has soared since they entered the marketplace, but at least one consumer group wants the FDA to order warnings on product labels.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Donna-Moberly.jpg Full Gospel ‛Back to School Bash’ is Aug. 2

    Hello everyone.
    I guess everyone is asking, “How much rain did we get?”

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Katie-Rollins.jpg Thank the Lord for the rain

    Hello readers, it’s a stormy Monday evening as I write this, and I’ve been thanking the Lord all day for the good rain – over an inch in the gauge now, and it looks like more before morning.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Paula-Jones-c.jpg Rain has helped lawns, gardens

    Hello from Baldwin.
    How is everyone’s week going? I hope everyone is having a great one.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo