Return to routines – the new school year

September 11, 2023, Lynne Brown

We’ve made it through the first week of the new school year.  Yay us! 

It’s always a welcome change when summer arrives in June. But we’re usually ready for the new school year come September. There is something about the rhythm and routine of the week when school starts that makes life feel a little bit less chaotic.

The start of a new school year is the perfect time to look at your family’s routines – a powerful tool to help bring order and harmony to family life.  

Here are just a few of the many benefits of establishing a routine for your family and how it can lead to happier and more connected households.

Structure and Predictability

One of the primary advantages of having a routine in your family life is the structure and predictability it brings. Children, in particular, thrive in environments where they know what to expect. A consistent routine provides a sense of security and stability, reducing anxiety and uncertainty for both parents and kids. When children know that every evening includes dinner, followed by homework, playtime, and then bedtime, the predictability can ease transitions between activities and reduce the likelihood of tantrums or resistance.

Reduced Stress

A well-structured routine can reduce stress for everyone. Knowing that certain tasks will be completed at designated times can alleviate the feeling of being constantly overwhelmed. This, in turn, allows us to be more present and engaged with our children and fosters a more harmonious family environment.

Time Management

A well-structured routine helps family members manage their time more effectively. By allocating specific times for chores, schoolwork, family outings, and relaxation, essential tasks can be completed without last-minute stress. This helps teach children valuable time management skills and frees up more quality time for family activities.

Improved Sleep Patterns

Quality sleep is crucial for the overall well-being of every family member. A consistent bedtime routine can help regulate sleep patterns, ensuring that everyone gets the rest they need. This, in turn, leads to increased focus, better mood, and improved physical health. 

Teaching Responsibility

Routines teach responsibility and accountability from an early age. Children learn that certain tasks, like cleaning up after themselves or completing homework, are non-negotiable. These life skills will serve them well as they grow into responsible adults.

Enhanced Communication

Having a routine often encourages communication within the family. Regular family meals, for instance, provide opportunities to share experiences, discuss concerns, and strengthen family bonds. Establishing routines for family meetings or check-ins can also create a safe space for open and honest communication.

Strengthened Family Bonds

Regular family activities – like game nights, weekend outings, or movie nights – incorporated into your routine create lasting memories and strengthen the bonds between family members. A routine that includes quality family time helps everyone feel connected and valued.

As we settle into this new school year, establishing predictable routines brings structure, predictability, and order to daily life. Children feel a greater sense of security, which brings many benefits to family life. 

But remember that while routines are essential, flexibility is also crucial. Life is unpredictable, and the ability to adapt when necessary is equally valuable. Like having a routine, modeling how to cope with a disruption to that routine helps children build life-long skills. When they see you make an adjustment, they learn how to cope when things don’t happen the way they expect.

Whether it’s a daily schedule, weekly traditions, or monthly rituals, creating routines that works for your family can lead to a happier and more connected household.