Nightly Routines

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When children are babies, we typically have a night time routine before putting them to bed. As children get older, we teach them a morning routine. However, when students become independent, many parents abandon routines and allow children to follow their own set of rules.

Developing and keeping routines at home is very important for children from elementary through high school. Most students who follow a home routine find it easier to follow school rules. Routines give the day a framework. Although doing the same thing over and over again can be boring for adults, children thrive on it. It’s important for children to know exactly what’s expected of them and to have time limits.

If you haven’t established a routine for your child, here are some tips to get you started.

1) Ease your child into a routine. A regular mealtime is an easy place to start. However, at the beginning, you must make sure that you are consistent with the time. Try using a time frame. For example, dinner is served between 6:00 and 6:30.

2) Put the routine in writing. If children can see what they need to do, they’re more likely to do it. Once your child does the routine correctly for three weeks, you can remove the reminder.

3) Bed and morning times are great for establishing routines. These are typically the most rushed times of the day. Having a routine brings order to children’s lives and helps them begin and end their day less chaotic.

4) You must be flexible when necessary. There may be times when your child won’t get to bed exactly at eight o’clock. Don’t make them think that the world is coming to an end. As long as they’re consistent most of the time, being late every now and then won’t hurt.

Learning to schedule time, be organized and create routines will prepare children to be on their own. In the classroom, routines facilitate teaching and learning, save time, and make it easier to learn. If your child has a home routine, the school day will be a lot easier to manage.

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This segment originally aired on April 27, 2014. Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit