BEST STARTS FOR KIDS
The True Value of Routines
It's been my experience that children flourish in safe, predictable environments that cater to their well being.
Ensure your child has a healthy breakfast before leaving the house in the morning. Ensure they have a healthy lunch and access to adequate water. Ensure that the evening meal is eaten at a reasonably regular time, ideally as a family, and use after it as the time to begin wind down activities.
With my own family I had organization and routines in place so we ate well.
Children are happier and more settled if they're fed good foods at similar times each day. For example: breakfast before they leave the house, a healthy lunch with access to water and a healthy kid friendly dinner at night.
Routines ensured I didn’t waste time coercing or bribing my children to do what was required on a regular basis.
Everyone knew what was expected of them and with initial rewards for co-operative behaviour, over time, routines became independent and cumulative.
'Get dressed' progressed from put the clothes on that are laid out for you on your bed; to locate your clothes from the ironing pile, iron them if necessary and ensure any dirty clothes are in the washing basket.
Have you ever wondered what it might be like, to be your children, from their perspective?
Just imagine for a moment you're completely beholden to the care and whims of another human being. In your child's case, that would be you... as their caregiver.
Imagine, that while one day, you were woken to eat breakfast at 5:30 am, on yet another day, you weren't fed until 11:00.
Or maybe weren't fed breakfast at all.
Imagine alternatively you were fed breakfast at a reasonably reliable time say around 7:00 am.
Now would you feel more settled, if things were predictable, or if they were random?
I'd say most children would feel the same way you would feel about it.
Our children learnt it was in their interest to co-operate because they they got more of what they wanted by being cooperative.
They could have positive attention for getting on board or gain less attention for being difficult,
Surprisingly most children will usually choose doing something positive with their parents over most other things. And even the mundane can be fun.
The Value of a Visual Routine List for Young Children
I always worked full-time so we had to be up and out of the house every morning by seven thirty. I had a list of visuals on the fridge of what my children had to do in the morning and instead of harping I became a helpful friend saying things like "How are you going with your list? Wow you're up to putting your socks on already... fantastic. You're even beating me."
The visual routine list changed what had been a twenty minute drama shoe and sock drama every morning with one son, to him putting his socks on independently. And all it took was a clear explanation of what was expected, with visuals so he didn't get off track. After holidays even my older son referred to the visual routine chart to keep himself on track.
I have included a copy of my hand drawn visual routine list. And I kept it simple because it worked best that way. You will need to introduce what the symbols mean on your visual routine list.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Make Your Bed
Eat Your Breakfast
Clean Your Teeth and Brush Your Hair
Put On Your
Shoes and Socks
Tidy Your Room
Or another way could be using the computer to create a list with your child of showing images of similar items to what I included.
Or even better if you wanted to be even more innovative you could include photos of the actual items involved. Get your child to help you photograph the items and then include them as the visuals for your routine list. While this may take longer it gives your child greater ownership and therefore is more likely to increase their cooperation.
It might even show them brushing their teeth, eating their breakfast, etc. Whatever works best for you is the better way to go.
You can also prepare similar routine lists for afternoon routines with visuals if possible to include the following. For example:
If you laminate it you can add a star chart to the side if you wish. I didn't because adding the stars can take too much time and can produce another process in time starved mornings, but it can be useful at the beginning to reinforce improvement. I wanted my children to have ownership of their own progress as I think it has greater long term success that way.
If you do use stars take a photo of the weeks result, wipe the start chart off ready for the next week and start again.
You can also purchase routine charts on the internet as well for around $20. Just type weekly routine charts into google search.
If you go this way, remember the simpler at the beginning, the more likelihood there will be of success.
Put your shoes away
Take your lunch box out of your school bag
Put your lunch box on the sink and have a drink of water
Get your home reader out ready. Read for 10 minutes
Get any homework out and start it. Get it checked.
REWARD: A privilege after homework is completed (like an additional story, playing a game with them or a favourite TV program.) I usually made it something I was going to give them anyway
If you have more than one child, you can also have a weekly overview routine so children know what activities they have on given days.
The advantage of this is, as children grow older, they can accept greater responsibility for ensuring they have the gear ready for said activities.
After teaching thousands of children I believe that most children would prefer your positive attention rather than your negative attention.
But if they're getting no attention for doing the right thing, do you think they're going to continue doing it?
Perhaps ask yourself, if the things you do, aren't appreciated, if you're going to continue to do them?
Do you think your children are any different?
Children quickly work out what's in it for them.
If they cooperate and there's a reward they're more likely to cooperate.
For more Best Parenting Advice on behaviour go to the following links below:
Why Spend Postive Time Together?A father playing chess with his son can help create a positive relationship
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