- The Importance of Routine
For the Whole of Their Life.
The Importance of Routine
Over the summer holidays I was fortunate enough to spend a great deal of time with my two boys (aged 8 and 6 years). There were many days where the last conversation prior to bed was filled with questions that focused on needing to know what we were doing tomorrow, who was going where, what time were they going, for how long and would we need to take lunch…and…and…and!
It was a reminder to me of the importance of routine. A couple of days ago I happened to read a blog on exactly this topic — the importance of routine for children. In the blog, psychologist Dani Kaufman spoke about routine being one of the key habits to build into children when they are young. It helps them feel safe, to know what to expect and to understand where the boundaries are.
The early years are often the focus for developing routines, both at home and school. While this is crucial to a child’s ability to develop a sense of consistency and develop better anxiety regulation, the importance of good routine should not end when primary school ends. Routine is equally as important during the teenage years, both at school and especially at home.
Teenagers, whilst not verbalising it as often as a younger child, depend on the assurance that consistent routines bring. This is especially important as they manage the changing demands of managing school, friends, part-time work, study and social activities.
When I think about what we seek to achieve at the College for senior students with their learning; much of it begins with clear consistent routines in the classroom and broader learning environment. Once students have confidence in the basic routines of school, they are better able to focus on the challenges of the academic program. This is no different at home. For teenagers, good routines can help them feel grounded and secure. According to Dr Kaufman, sound routines that in themselves have natural consequences help lower anxiety, reduce boundary pushing, provide certainty of expectations and ultimately, create a calmer, more stable teenager.
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At school, I often look at what routines we can implement or improve that will increase the capacity of our students in Senior School. Or to use the language of our theme for this year, we want routines that will help each and every student to SOAR.
So what about at home? With an active family, I understand how busy and sometimes chaotic life can be. I’ve also experienced the benefits that simple routines such as regular dinner and bedtime provide for my kids. The great news is that the same things that provide good routine for young children are just as effective for teenagers. The article “Routines and teens: how you can help”(https://www.learningpotential.gov.au/routines-and-teens-how-you-can-help) provides some easy and practical tips and says the key is involving your teenager in the planning so they feel ownership. Their top tips include:
Set a daily schedule with the same wake-up times and bedtimes for each school day — and stick to them.
Make homework and study time part of your teenager’s daily routine.
Factor in time off! Knowing there’s a reward for all that hard work is a great motivator. A great example is only allowing technology/screen time once homework is done.
Make it visual — draw up a chart, keep a daily planner on the fridge, or record the routine in your teen’s phone or computer.
So, what about in your home? Is there a routine that you could establish (or tweak) that will help your teenager excel this year? It might take some practise, but I guarantee that consistent routines will help your teenager — and your entire family — SOAR in 2019.
Head of Senior School
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