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Family Routines Make Starting School Easier

Too Small to Fail
By Too Small to Fail

Parents of young children know that life is anything but routine with their little ones around. Things can be even more chaotic when kindergarten, preschool or daycare is thrown in the mix—it can be tough to plan for school schedules while balancing family life.

Establishing routines with young children can feel like an uphill climb at first, but there are benefits that make it worthwhile. Routines are an important way to help children learn how to manage social situations, and to establish good habits early on that will help them grow up healthy and ready to learn.

Researchers have found that family routines—establishing a regular bedtime, for example—are good for social-emotional health in young children. In fact, according to a study by the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center, children who regularly sing, play, story-tell and eat dinner with their families do better in school.

When children know what to expect on a daily basis, they are better able to handle stressful situations that come along later in life. In addition, establishing routines help children better manage simple tasks like brushing their teeth and eating breakfast, which will help them (and you!) when they begin school or daycare.

Families with young children can set up routines that encourage good habits by starting early. Snuggling on the couch and reading a book every night before bed will teach even a very young baby to look forward to going to sleep. Also, singing songs with toddlers while driving in the car or eating dinner together a few times a week will make the whole family feel more connected and maintain good health.

Resources for Sharing:

  • This article from ZERO TO THREE outlines how parents can use routine to guide positive behavior and set good habits.
  • Practical tips in this article from NAEYC about how parents can help their toddlers transition to kindergarten.
  • This article from Raising Children Network explains how family routines work—and how they can help young kids prepare for school.

VIDEO: This news clip featuring Camille Maben of First 5 California offers five tips for parents on establishing routine at home! >>

Posted In: Newsletter