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Family Friday: Calming Kids Through Routines

September 11, 2020

Today is the first Family Friday post. Yesterday for Thriveful Thursday, I wrote about two ways that routines can provide freedom: maintaining motivation and reducing stress. Routines are amazingly helpful when implemented for families and kids. In much of the same way adults benefit from anxiety-reduction when they anchor themselves in routines, kids can feel rooted and calm when they know what to expect each day. A routine can be laid out for the full day, sections of the day (morning, afternoon, evening), and/or for specific tasks like chores, homework, or bedtime. Use the appropriate amount and type of information your child can handle so that they’re not overwhelmed or unprepared.

For children age 3-7, a picture-based schedule posted in a highly visible place (but out of reach of little hands) is best. For kids 8-11, a simple word-based schedule or combination of pictures and words will work. Getting in the habit of using a planner, journal, or desk/wall calendar works best for age 12-17. When creating a visual routine chart for home use, I like to use images found on Google, Pexel, or Unsplash. You can also take photos of very specific items, people, or places if needed. You’ll also need Velcro, a color printer, scissors, and a laminator. If you’re short on time or don’t consider yourself crafty, there are pre-made schedules for purchase on sites like Etsy, Amazon, or Teachers Pay Teachers. Check out some ideas below.

Taking the time each night or each morning to prepare your child for the day will lessen their worry, minimize transition tantrums, increase independence and reduce power struggles. As the world continues to navigate COVID-19 unpredictability, provide your family with a way to feel calm, confident, and grounded.

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