The swirl of the holidays may be long past, but if you're still struggling to get back into a homeschooling routine, you're not alone. It can be tough to stick to a routine when inquisitive and active children are pulling you in many directions. However, a daily routine for children, particularly when homeschooling, can actually help children learn better, build self-confidence, and develop time management skills that they will need for the future.
5 Benefits of a Daily Routine for Children
1. Provides a Sense of Security.
A daily routine for children provides consistency and a sense of stability and normalcy that can be very comforting, eliminating the opportunity to often wonder about the “unknown”. Involving children in the routine creation process encourages “buy-in”, gives children a sense of belonging in family decisions and can reinforce this sense of security.
2. Helps Manage Behavioral Choices.
Routines help children manage their own expectations (and subsequently their behavioral choices). As they develop an expectation of which times of the day are for school, as well as which times are for play, exploring outside, eating, spending time with family, etc. transitions should become easier.
For your youngest ones, a visual schedule may be helpful. Try posting photos of your child participating in his or her various activities on a board, placing each photo/activity in the order in which it will happen that day.
Older children may enjoy drawing or painting their activities in a visual schedule. Children love to see their own artwork — it captures their own language of expression and reminds them they are part of the decision making process.
3. Encourages Focus.
As children get used to their routine, they will begin to adapt to each situation, allowing them to focus on each part of their day at the appropriate time, as opposed to spending time wondering what will happen next. Much like we get into the habit of work time versus free time, children do the same.
4. Boosts Confidence.
Children who know what to expect every day grow in self-confidence and will begin to take charge of themselves with pride. "Time to brush my teeth? Ok, I can do that all by myself!" Some children love their routines so much, they start reminding caregivers when it’s time to do something.
5. Supports a Forward-Thinking Mindset.
Children who have a routine will soon learn to look ahead to special events, as well as daily rituals. They may begin to make plans for those events and suggest ideas for future events and activities.
Remember to Remain Flexible
Although a daily routine for children can be extremely helpful in homeschooling, don't feel like you must adhere to it strictly; we know having the opportunity to be flexible and seizing unique learning moments is a key element of homeschooling. So don’t be afraid to demonstrate flexibility when opportunities arise — to take advantage of a gorgeous day for outside play, attend a local event, or take advantage of a special exhibit at the museum.
Also, it’s helpful to pay attention to how your children are reacting to the routine, solicit their feedback, and work together to adjust the plan, if necessary. Remember that routines come in all shapes and sizes and must constantly evolve with the child. What works for your family might not work for others, and what works for your family now may not work for you in six months or a year. As with all aspects of parenting, flexibility is important, and it’s helpful to model flexibility with our littler ones.