Children’s Mental Health Week (5 – 11 February) is run and organised by the children’s mental health charity, Place2Be. This year’s theme ‘My Voice Matters’ is about encouraging children and young people to feel confident in expressing themselves.
Our feature today explores the benefits of building positive routines in our busy family lives. Routines help children feel safe, develop life skills and build healthy habits. Daily routines help family life to run smoothly and they also help families spend more quality time together.
One great way of introducing a routine, and sticking to it, is to make a wall planner, and have sections on it for each person in the house. A whiteboard works well for this as you can change week to week, and use a particular colour for each person. Write up all the activities, events and things that need remembering for the duration of the week. This way, everyone can see ahead as to what each week entails and be organised each day for what is ahead. Another alternative to a whiteboard is a chalkboard, or downloadable weekly planner templates which you can print out each week.
It’s inevitable that things will change, we live in a very busy world and it can be difficult to remember everything when you’ve a busy household to run! Getting up at around the same time each day, eating meals at a regular time and having structured times for activities all helps to build positive routines.
Establishing expectations such as bath time and tidy up time means that children begin to expect and complete activities as part of their daily routine. This fosters life-long skills such as independence and responsibility. And because children know what to expect in establishing these tasks, stress and anxiety will be significantly reduced. Little ones will feel valued because they are included in the plans and don’t feel like they’re being forced to do something.