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Success at School - Routine

February 04, 2013
By Laura Eisenga

Imagine a day when someone else is in charge. Sounds great, right?

Someone comes in to wake you up in the morning and decides what you’re going to wear for the day. Someone gets your breakfast ready (even though you really wanted to sneak some Fruit Loops for that needed sugar boost). Then Someone suddenly demands you to get your shoes on quickly because “we’re running so late!” After a ride in the car, you’re quickly brought into work with a hug and a kiss, and then Someone is gone. You soon realize that your lunch is still in the back seat, but hopefully Someone will notice and bring it to you.

Okay, so I’m obviously taking the kid’s point of view here. Seeing life from their shoes can give some insight into the importance of routine simply because kids have very little control over their lives, especially the younger ones.

I know from experience with my 3 year-old twins that they like to have some sort of control. They want to know what’s coming up next, and what’s expected of them. But sometimes I don’t even know what’s coming up next!

I find that when I let them know what’s going on, where we’re going, how they need to act, and what they need to do, and then they are more confident and proud of themselves when they can fulfill their duties. And I’d like to think that confidence + pride = self-esteem!

Today I read, “Routines involve repetition. Repetition involves predictability. Predictability involves stability. Stability involves security.” (I found that here.)

I had to read it a couple times to help it sink in (hey, it’s Monday).

I know we’re all busy. There are sports events to attend, lunches to make, laundry to do, church to attend, bills to pay, groceries to buy, etc. But for your child’s success at school, try to implement a routine.

Here are more wise words I’ve found:

  1. Routines eliminate power struggles because you aren't bossing them around. This activity (brushing teeth, napping, turning off the TV to come to dinner) is just what we do at this time of day. The parent stops being the bad guy, and nagging is greatly reduced.
  2. Routines help kids cooperate by reducing stress and anxiety for everyone. We all know what comes next, we get fair warning for transitions, and no one feels pushed around.
  3. Routines help kids learn to take charge of their own activities. Over time, kids learn to brush their teeth, pack their backpacks, etc., without constant reminders.  Kids love being in charge of themselves. This feeling increases their sense of mastery and competence. Kids who feel more independent and in charge of themselves have less need to rebel and be oppositional.
  4. Kids learn the concept of "looking forward" to things they enjoy, which is an important part of making a happy accommodation with the demands of a schedule. He may want to go to the playground now, but he can learn that we always go to the playground in the afternoon, and he can look forward to it then.
  5. Regular routines help kids get on a schedule, so that they fall asleep more easily at night.
  6. Schedules help parents maintain consistency in expectations. If everything is a fight, parents end up settling: more TV, skip brushing teeth for tonight, etc. With a routine, parents are more likely to stick to healthy expectations for everyone in the family, because that's just the way we do things in our household. The result: a family with healthy habits, where everything runs more smoothly.
    by Dr. Laura Markham, on her website

Now here’s the good part: Someone picks you up from work, lets you sit on the couch while supper is prepared. Before you know it, your favorite meal is on the table, and all you have to do is eat it.

Now doing the dishes doesn’t seem so bad!

Need more reading material? Please check out Success at School - Encouragement, Success at School - Communication and Success at School - Prayer.