I’m not big on following a schedule. Bed time at a specific time? Waking up at a specific time? Doing the same things at the same time every single day? Not my jam. I love spontaneity, and if my good friend invites us on a last minute field trip the night before – we are going to be there! But routines – I’m all about routines. I do the same things every night before bed and every morning when I wake up, in the same order, as a way to start and end my day. Most of these are established hygiene routines like brushing my teeth, or brushing my hair. Saying a prayer is in there too.
Here’s what I’ve noticed. Kids are a lot healthier and happier when they have basic routines in place. Establishing routines for kids is actually super important. Helping your child remember to brush his teeth, empty his bladder, put on deodorant, and take care of all the different personal hygiene activities that are a part of routines for kids — that’s helping him establish good health habits for life.
I have a child who doesn’t brush his/her teeth like they should. Guess what? With the child in particular, we did not establish good, solid routines when he/she was young. We didn’t create those necessary habits and enforce them. We were frankly too overwhelmed just trying to get that child to wind down and actually sleep to always remember all the steps of the daily hygiene routine, and frankly it was just easier to do it for that child ourselves.
As one mom to another, I’m telling you right now it would have been better to focus on those routines. In fact, it very well might have helped the wind-down process! Establishing morning and bedtime routines with your child will help them have a better day and wind down better for a great night of rest.
Here are a few ways to help establish morning routines for kids and bedtime routines for kids – including a set of free printable daily routine cards for kids!
- Set expectations. Everyone brushes their teeth, every night, no exceptions. Even the toddler. Help your little ones for as long as you can.
- Educate. Explain the benefits of good hygiene and the side effects of poor hygiene. Also talk about the importance of good sleep and the negative effects of no sleep.
- Watch videos showing favorite characters with morning routines and bedtime routines.
- Include a read-aloud time each night with your kids, as a reward for when they are completely ready to climb into bed. Cuddle on the couch or in a special prayer to read to your kids. “As soon as you finish XYZ, you can pick out a story for me to read.” is a great motivator!
- Use visual cues. That’s where our fantastic free printable daily routine cards for kids come in. Print out these cards, laminate them, hole punch one corner, and keep them on a ring near your child’s bed. Maybe on a night stand or dresser, or hanging on a special hook with his pjs. Have your child use a wipe-off crayon to mark each one off, or just have your child verbally confirm each step. We have a set for boys and a set for girls included in this download! Grab your free printable routine cards for kids here <–.