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How to Tell it's Time For a Family Routine Update?

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Just about every parenting book and resource will encourage parents to develop a family routine of sorts. A morning routine, an after-school routine, and the most popular of all: a bedtime routine would help you organize your day and build rhythm in your child's mind.

There is not a single routine that works forever without breaking, however. Just like your child's clothes won't fit as they grow, routines also need to be updated to fit your child's current needs. However, it is fairly easy to tell when your child needs to size up their wardrobe, but how can you tell when they need a routine upgrade?

Your child will let you know when a routine or part of a routine is no longer working. Maybe you will be done with the bedtime routine and your child is still full of energy. Maybe they are spending too much time on screens in the morning instead of getting ready. Maybe you feel that dinner time is consistently interrupting their independent play.

When you start seeing signals that the current routine plan is not working, it is time to observe:

  • Is my child using this time in a way that is acceptable to me? (maybe they want to play video games and you are not ok with that, for example)

  • Do I have the space in my overall day's routine to give my child more time for this particular activity?

  • Is my child taking less time with another activity that could switch with this one? (becoming more efficient at cleaning their room, for example)

As you reevaluate your day, your child's activities, and the time you have, you will probably be able to switch things around just enough to accommodate both your and your child's needs.

Tip: Make sure to communicate these changes to your child before you start. Most children don't like surprises in their routine.

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