When it comes to raising children, structure and consistency are two of the most important elements to consider. Research has shown that children who live in homes with established routines and clear expectations are more likely to develop healthy habits and be successful in life. Structure and consistency provide children with a sense of security and safety, knowing what they can expect and when. This allows them to feel secure and safe, knowing that life won’t be chaotic and unpredictable. This is especially important in times of change or transition, such as when a child starts school.
A consistent routine helps children understand their own limits and boundaries. It gives them the opportunity to practice self-discipline and encourages them to make healthy decisions. Establishing a routine also helps children learn to manage their time and can help them become more organized and independent as they get older.
Consistency in parenting also helps children to better understand the expectations and consequences of their actions. When adults are consistent in their expectations and responses, children learn to take responsibility for their actions and understand that their choices have consequences. This can help children to make better decisions in the future and to become more self-reliant. Having a consistent routine also helps children to understand what is expected of them and can help them develop a sense of self-worth. When children know what to expect, they feel valued and secure, knowing that adults care enough to provide them with structure and consistency.
Ultimately, structure and consistency in the life of a child are essential for their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Parents who provide structure and consistency in their lives can help to ensure that their children will grow up to be healthy, well-adjusted adults.
3 Ways to Gain Structure & Consistency in Your Life
1. House Rules
Jenna Korf, certified Stepfamily Coach, suggests sitting down and creating house rules. Setting house rules, that all family members are expected to abide by, will help ensure a feeling of structure in your home. Sit down as a family and generate a list. Then choose a few house rules that work for you and your family. If you keep your house rules posted somewhere in the house, you can always refer to them when needed.
2. Keep to a Schedule
Keeping to a schedule creates a stable environment. This allows for routine and predictability. Kids build confidence in handling their daily routines when they understand where and when things will be occurring. Repetition of a regular schedule will make daily routines much easier, too.
My husband and I have a clearly defined schedule with my stepdaughters.
- I wake the girls up at the same time on school days
- The girls get dressed, brush their hair, brush their teeth and head downstairs
- Then downstairs, my husband gets them breakfast
- They eat and then clean up
- They make snacks and figure out lunch for the day -They pack their backpacks -Then they head outside at a specific time to catch the bus.
After school Routine
- The girls get until dinner time to relax and play
- Eat dinner
- Showers (brush hair, brush teeth)
- Family game, reading, or other activity
- Bedtime (say prayers, hugs & kisses, goodnight)
3. Ease Transitioning
Children transitioning between two homes have a challenge in front of them. Making a calendar with your children can help ease the stress of the transitions. The calendar should include times they will be with you and times they will be with the other parent. It can also include special events or activities, schedule changes, and materials they require for the transitions. Having this as a visual will not only help your children, but it will help you and your partner as well. You can also have a check-list to help remind your children of the items (clothes, school supplies, stuffed animal, etc.) they need to bring to transition to their other home.
Structure and consistency create a safe, comfortable, and predictable environment for children. Your family can function like a well-oiled machine when these are present. Barbara Coloroso, internationally recognized speaker and author in the area of parenting, says, “Our children are counting on us to provide two things: consistency and structure. Children need parents who say what they mean, mean what they say, and do what they say they are going to do.”