Establishing Daily Routines/Helping Your Child With Homework Vicki Hilliard, LSW Child and Family Counselor Debby Rockwood, LISW-S Lancaster City Schools District Social Worker “ A child wants some kind of undisrupted routine or rhythm. He seems to want a predictable, orderly world. For instance, injustice, unfairness or inconsistency in the parents seems to make a child feel anxious and unsafe.” -Abraham Maslow Why Routines Are Helpful Daily routines and structure allow children to feel safe and secure. Knowing what to expect throughout the day helps minimize stress, anxiety, conflict and frustration for both children and parents. Good routines also help families stay organized, and maintain a calm and peaceful household. Routines help children learn time management skills. They help to reduce behavior problems. Children will learn how to comply with rules when they know if expected of them. Routines and schedules help build a child’s confidence. Be Flexible Children need and want structure. They will thrive on routines that are easy to understand and follow. However, too much structure can be stressful for the child and parent. Try not to be too rigid in following a schedule. Be flexible to make changes as/if needed. Schedules vs. Routines O Schedules are the main activities to be completed daily. O Routines are the steps taken to complete a schedule. Basic Family Schedules O A family’s day can be broken down into 4 sections: O O O O Morning After school Dinner time Bedtime Daily schedules and charts can be used to help complete every day tasks without stress or frustration. If using a calendar or schedule, post where your child will see it. Daily routine charts should also be posted where your child will see it everyday. Allow them to check off completed items. Your child will be more willing to adhere to them if they have a role in developing and filling in the schedule/charts. Morning Routine Tips How you feel in the morning effects how you feel the rest of the day. Having a morning routine starts your child’s day on the right foot. Have an alarm set or gently wake your child up. Wake up at least an hour before it’s time to leave. Have your child get dressed while you are getting breakfast ready (clothes should be laid of the night before). Try to eat breakfast with at least 15 minutes to spare. Do not force your child to eat if he/she is not hungry. Have book bags, lunch boxes ready they night before. After School /Homework Routine Tips After school routines help a child learn how to manage their time. This time can be used for getting a snack, doing chores, homework, or getting refreshed. Establishing a homework routine at any early age will help children develop good study habits that they can carry with them through college. Have a list of chores and check off when completed each day. Have a designated, quiet area to complete homework. Some children work better when they get their homework done right after school, while others need some down time. Do what works best for your child. Dinnertime Routine Tips Dinner time is the time when families can come together and talk about their day. This time allows for a child to understand and appreciate the importance of manners and interacting with others in a healthy way. This is a good time to discuss family values and expectations of behavior. It also allows for your child to develop good chore habits. Have your child help set and/or clear the table. Bedtime Routine Tips A bedtime routine helps your child understand the importance of a good nights’ sleep. An hour before bed let your child know that bedtime is approaching. Have a routine of putting toys away; getting clothes out for the next day; getting book bag and lunch packed and ready. Put items needed for the school day in the same place every day. After they have gone through the routine enough times, it will become a habit. Have a routine of reading a story, journaling, talking, or listening to relaxing music before bed.