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Using routines to manage behaviour

 

Routines help family members know who should do what, when, in what order and how often. For example, your children know that they take turns with loading and unloading the dishwasher each day. This can mean less conflict and fewer arguments about these kinds of boring activities.

Routines help young children feel safe and secure. They need to feel safe and secure to develop confidence and learn, including learning about appropriate ways to behave.

Creating routines

  • Plan routines for demanding times in the family day – for example, before and after work and school. 
  • Add some downtime into your child’s routine. This gives your child time for a sleep or rest, which can help with behaviour. It also gives him time to learn to entertain himself.
  • If you want to put time limits on some activities, like screen use, make this part of the routine. 
  • Link two or more activities together. This can help your child get through boring activities faster. It also works because doing one activity helps you remember to do the other one. 
  • Talk about routines with your child. Even toddlers can understand simple, consistent explanations.
  • Use language or ideas your child can understand to talk about your routine.

Getting children to follow routines

  • Put up an illustrated poster of your routine where everyone can see it. Making the poster with your child could be fun and give you the chance to talk about the routine.
  • Involve your child in parts of the routine that she can manage by herself.
  • Find ways to remind your child to follow the routine without your help. 
  • Think about whether parts of the routine can be your child’s responsibility. Your child can learn new skills and help the family by doing household chores. 
  • Watch out for and praise your child when he follows the routine without help.

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