I just read this great article by Dr. Laura Markham where she talks about why kids need routines. She talk about how children are always dealing with change everyday. Things like growing up and their bodies changing, going to school, moving, etc. Children fear the unknown and when we as Parents don’t really know what’s going on from one minute to the next how could we expect our children to know. She says that children can cope with change best if it’s expected. The routines that we can create as parents can help our children to feel safe as they know what to expect from one moment to the next. As they become more secure in their routines they can take on bigger challenges and changes.
I see the same thing when it comes to children attending a program like a Martial Arts Class. If the child is constantly guessing as to what comes next they have a difficult time adapting to their environment. They typically stop wanting to come to class, they get frustrated and have difficulty learning and comprehending the curriculum. My advice to any parent is to always make sure they create some structure in their child’s Martial Arts schedule. Be sure to attend 2 regular days per week and stick with those days unless an emergency prevents you from attending. Children can cope with that kind of change in their schedule if they know that it’s not the normal thing.
We even go so far as to create a routine inside our classes. Each class is delivered in the same manner. First a warm-up, followed with a Mat Chat, 2 skill building drills, our specific curriculum requirements and ending with some sort of fun game. We try to make sure that we utilize the same lengths of time for each section of our class so children know exactly what to expect when. This provides them with a better learning environment as they can focus on the content and not worry about what comes next.
Dr. Markham gives 7 Benefits of Using a Routine with your Kids:
1. Routines eliminate Power Struggles
2. Routines help kids cooperate
3. Routines help kids learn to take charge of their own activities
4. Kids learn the concept of “looking forward” to things they enjoy
5. Regular Routines help kids get on a schedule
6. Routines help parents build in those precious connection moments
7. Schedules help parents maintain consistency in expectations
If you wish to read the full article from Dr. Markham you can do so here –> Why Kids Need Routines