Why Routine and Rituals are Important for Children and Families

Routines give structure.  In a group of people (a family) things run more smoothly when the day is predictable. Everyone knows what to expect.  It gives comfort and security.  There are no surprises.  It is respectful.

It takes a conscious parent to notice when things need to be adjusted or shifted because kids are constantly changing and growing into different stages.  What used to work doesn't fit any longer.  Sometimes you need to make something old, new again. It can be exhausting being so creative.

What helped to gain some compliance was to draw pictures.  First we are going to eat breakfast, then we are going to brush our teeth, then we are going to PLAY!  They know what to expect and can follow the picture chart.

When you insert something special into the routine (like prayer or family time), it should be at the same time everyday so they know when to expect it.  They will look forward to it. Kids LOVE family time. It is uniting and loving.

The other day my four year old son (who has been a bit challenging and defiant lately) did not want to sit at the table and eat with us.  He was trying to climb on the table, throwing things around and cried when we said no.  So he pushed his salad off the table and onto the floor.  He was in trouble.  He wasn't going to get a treat, straight to bed, etc.  He started crying and crying and then cried, "I want family time, I want family time".

It stopped me in my tracks.  I took a deep breath and realized his behavior is really a cry for comfort, love,  and support.  That he didn't try to push us away in this state but was crying to be united.  Our family time has become a source of strength and holds great power in our family.  It holds us together.

We all pulled our chairs together and finished our dinner together quietly.

My divine message that evening was, "firm and loving guidance".  I continue to repeat that mantra throughout the day.