With today’s busy lifestyles, parenting can sometimes feel like a mere endless cycle of routines. Breakfast, scramble out the door, school, work, home, dinner. Clean up, read, TV, bedtime struggles, snuggle and sleep. Wash, rinse and repeat.
But are you aware that these routines have a significant impact on the health and happiness of your child?
Routines provide structure and a sense of stability
– Two key factors that make children feel safe. While some routines merely serve a practical purpose, many others can be a way to instill habits and values that define your family. As childhood is a time of rapid development and change, routines offer your kids the predictability they need to tackle the new things and challenges they encounter each day.
Establishing meaningful routines (and being mindful while doing them) is essential for raising healthy and happy kids. The following are some simple but powerful routines you can easily adapt for your family:
1. Eat together.
Establish this practice while your kids are small and keep it a part of your daily ritual for as long as possible. Teenagers who grow up spending quality mealtimes with their family are less likely to feel depressed and get involved in delinquent behavior. They are also generally well-adjusted, optimistic and sociable, and perform better academically.
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, having a meal together as a family encourages conversation and togetherness.
2. Play games with them.
Play is a serious opportunity for your little ones to learn more about themselves and the world around them. And while it’s good to teach your child the joys of independent play, it’s equally important to make playing with your child a priority.
Playtime is one of the best times to bond with your kids, get to know them, and simply enjoy their company.
3. Take them to the supermarket.
Involve your kids in one of your weekly errands, such as going to the supermarket. Write the weekly grocery shopping list with them. Discuss the fruits and vegetables you’ll be getting for the week, and the meals you’re planning to use them in. You may allow them to select a single treat which they should be willing to share.
By showing your kids how to make healthy food choices and how it relates to their development and well-being, you also get to show the value of good nutrition.
4. Enjoy music together.
Expose your children to a variety of musical genres. Listen to your favorite songs, dance to your favorite tunes, or enroll them in music lessons, if they’re inclined. Hold mini-concerts at home and let them experience performing in front of an audience. This builds confidence in children, widens their musical horizons, and lets you all enjoy being together as a family.
Moreover, music is linked to memory making. Let music be a part of your daily life. Play music even when you’re doing the most mundane tasks and you’ll elevate those ordinary days into cherished memories for your kids.
5. Reduce screen time.
Keep your kids from getting too much screen time. Encourage them to work on coloring books, puzzles or age-appropriate craft activities. If you are working in the kitchen, let your children observe. If your kids are old enough to help around, then let them. Give them clear instructions and always be encouraging even and especially when they make mistakes along the way.
Engaging in a shared activity
– this is an opportunity for you to talk to them regarding just about anything: your own childhood, nutrition, school, spirituality, their friends; the possibilities are endless.
Choosing joy and gratitude
Whatever routines you have set out for you and your family, make sure to do them with a happy and grateful heart. Remember that your children are watching your every move, and know they are highly attuned to your emotional state. If you are happy and healthy, there is a greater likelihood that they will be, too.