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When Kids Call the Shots: Night Routine Every Kid Needs-Psychology Today, Sean Grover

Amanda Houle

Are you struggling to get your kid out the door? Are mornings full of chaos and panic? How can you make school days less stressful?

I sat down with parenting guru Amanda Houle, founder of Parenting with a Punch and host of the Parenting with a Punch podcast. Amanda provides straightforward and effective strategies for parents and couples who are struggling with their kids. Here’s what she had to say: 

A rock-solid school-night routine is absolutely essential to kids of every age. School-night routines anchor children, so no matter which way the wind blows the next day, they’re prepared. While it’s tempting to ditch rules and take a devil-may-care attitude to household planning, a lack of consistency will catch up with you – and your kid.

Parents who don’t provide consistent school-night routines run the risk of increased struggles with expectations; struggles that manifest as defiance, Oscar-worthy tantrums, and all-around apathy about school, homework, and extracurricular activities.

The Power of Routine

To keep your family on track, follow these 5 simple guidelines:

1. Bedtime Routines

Bedtime is the baseline of effective routines for children. Start the bedtime process by encouraging activities like choosing outfits for the next day or making lunch ahead of time.

2. Homework Routines

It is important to set fixed times for getting homework completed. Use a “first/then” approach for starters. Take frequent breaks if necessary or divide homework time around subjects. These minor modifications can make a big difference.

3. Morning Routines

Does your kid need thirty minutes or one hour to get ready in the morning? Create routines around breakfast and getting out the door so you don't have to rush.

4. Follow Through

Keep your word. If you say 5 minutes, mean it. Set a timer if that will help. The goal is to keep everyone on schedule and avoid last minute panic.

5. Checklists

Some kids struggle with transitions or suffer from anxiety. Checklists are visual cues that reduce angst and keep kids on track.

Routines Encourage Maturity

Remember, the routines you demonstrate now will prove invaluable when your kid gains more responsibilities with each passing grade. Routines foster healthy habits and provide kids with lifelong skills to succeed in school…and beyond.  

In the end, children crave structure and consistency. Don’t you function best following a routine a degree as well? I am going to guess the answer is YES! Our children, believe it or not, are no different. Ask yourself this: Is it easier to set your children up for success by simply flying by the seat of your pants or by setting expectations and boundaries? Give it a try and do not give up! Families who follow consistent routines live less chaotic lives.

For information about Amanda's forthcoming parenting book Click HERE

For parenting workshops or video's visit www.SeanGrover.com