Routines and children. Why are they important?

Kids are funny creatures of habits. They thrive on routine and structure. My kids are no exception. We’ve always been keen to instil good boundaries and routines at bed time so that that have an understanding and anticipation of the ‘now and next’ of when it’s time for bed.
I don’t know about you but my kids latch onto really random things with these things being suddenly introduced as routine. For example; when Oscar was little he always had a ‘last play’ before bed. We obviously introduced the phrase ‘last play’ at some point by saying something like ‘Oscar now it’s the last play before bedtime. So this part of the routine was named as the ‘last play’. It wasn’t acceptable to Oscar that he played before bedtime and then it would be teeth and then bed – we had to announce the ‘last play’! So we’d have to say ‘Oscar it’s last playtime’. If we didn’t announce it in this way then as far as Oscar was concerned, the last play had not taken place!

Another little routine that came into being emerged through Oscar having a bad dream one night.  Oscar woke early one night upset because he’d had a bad dream.  James went into him and said to him thathe would whisper a good dream into his ear to make the bad dream go away.  James is very creative and has a wild imagination just like the kids and so he came up with the mystical and wonderful ‘dream’ to replace the bad dream that Oscar had had and Oscar went back to sleep without a problem.  This is where the ‘dream’ came about!  Every night after his bad dream, Oscar would ask James to give him a dream.  James even took to thinking up these ‘dreams’ throughout the day so that he would have some ‘material’ for that night time!

When Mabel was about 2 years old we used to have major trouble trying to settle her to bed.  She was a pickle.  Getting upset about random things, you know how it is?!  So in order to distract her James invented characters to make her laugh.  At this time Oscar and Mabel shared a room so of course Oscar lapped it up too.  So James would go out of their room and return with his top over his head and his glasses on a wonk and would put on a funny voice with a story to go with it.  I can’t remember what the first character was called now be over time we have had; Nanny Brenda, Uncle Roy and many many more.  These have had us in fits of laughter and have diverted lots of tantrums.  I won’t put any photos of James in character on here as I think he would divorce me if I did!

Mabel’s current bedtime routine at the moment is ‘one more minute’.  Just as we say goodnight Mabel will ask ‘can I have one more minute Mummy’.  By this she means that she would like us to  sit in her room for just a short time while she settles into bed.  Bless her!

One birthday James decided that he would make the kids American style pancakes.  This has now become another routine.  Any birthday, be it mine, James’ the kids, Christmas, Easter etc. We now HAVE to have pancakes for breakfast on all of these occasions!  Oscar doesn’t actually like the pancakes any more but still, it has to be done – thats just the King thing!

A few years ago, before I became a health visitor I didn’t really understand the reason for these routines that crept into a our lives.  However, since becoming a health visitor I now see the importance of these strange aspects of a family life.  Children crave routine and boundaries as these help to make them feel safe and ‘contained’.  The feeling of being ‘contained’ is described as that of feeling as though others can hold their emotions with them in mind.  We as parents (or other signifcant people in children’s lives) need to be able to respond to children’s feelings so that the children feel safe with those feelings.  This is the idea of containment. 

They know what is coming now and next and this predictibilty helps to keep their emotions in check.  I see many families in my role as health visitor where for whatever reason life is chaotic.  It might be due to the fact that there is parental ill health in the household or substance misuse or domestic abuse.  It can even be as the result of the children’s parents not having had structure and routine in their lives when they were children and so are unaware of how to create that in their own parenting.

So you see those weird little routines that you have are all good for those little monkeys in helping them feel contained. That’s not to say that they don’t push against the boundaries or routines that we, as parents put in place but that’s their job & our job is to be consistent.




  1. July 13, 2017 / 6:55 pm

    I agree on routine in a child’s life is so very important. It keeps them grounded and creates roots within the family. I have to say I love the idea of whispering a new dream. That is so super sweet.

    • thekingersandi
      July 13, 2017 / 7:30 pm

      My husband has a great imagination & comes up with lots of stories! The kids love the ones that include ‘rude words’ like fart & bum!

  2. July 13, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    Routines are so important when it comes to children, although our routines aren’t great due to no two days ever being the same!

    • thekingersandi
      July 13, 2017 / 9:10 pm

      Even the littlest of things give children the security they need. You’ve got a troop to get out of the front door every morning & to bed at night though!!

  3. July 14, 2017 / 8:54 am

    Routines are definitely an important part of growing up, my daughter struggles if there is any deviation from her routines x

  4. July 14, 2017 / 8:57 am

    What a fab post, totally put a smile on my face. Honestly are children do crave routine and for it they thrive.

  5. July 14, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    It is good to get them into a routine, I have 4 children so routine was very important as they grew up 🙂

  6. July 14, 2017 / 8:30 pm

    We swear by routines! All 3 kids sleep through the night, even Zach since the age of 12 months. The kids like knowing what is expected of them

  7. July 15, 2017 / 9:14 pm

    I truly believe that routine is extremely important and children deep down enjoy them! 🙂

    • thekingersandi
      July 15, 2017 / 9:21 pm

      Absolutely! Thanks for reading 👍🏻

    • thekingersandi
      July 17, 2017 / 7:33 pm

      Absolutely! There’s such comfort in routine even now as an adult

  8. July 17, 2017 / 9:01 am

    Routines and consistency are a must with children, they have to know their boundaries as this makes them feel secure and happy

    • thekingersandi
      July 17, 2017 / 7:33 pm

      As much as they spend a whole lot of time trying to push those boundaries, it’s so so true.

  9. July 17, 2017 / 7:08 pm

    so hard and s true

    • thekingersandi
      July 17, 2017 / 8:03 pm

      Thank you & thanks for reading

  10. July 17, 2017 / 8:09 pm

    My routines are everything! As a mom of 5, it keeps us all on the same page!!

    • thekingersandi
      July 17, 2017 / 8:17 pm

      Wow! 5 kids, you’re a super mum! I’m sure that with 5 kids, routine is key

  11. July 17, 2017 / 8:33 pm

    What a lovely posts! Routines are essential, they definitely keep everything in line and make children more secure.

  12. July 18, 2017 / 7:11 pm

    My kids thrive on routines. It’s so funny how certain one offs get incorporated into the routine, but others don’t.

  13. Helen
    July 22, 2017 / 1:05 am

    This is so interesting! My eldest daughter loves a routine – she can pretty much run our days at home herself as she’s so familiar with our routine. It’s comforting for both of us! 🙂

  14. July 22, 2017 / 6:14 am

    As a special education/elementary major (graduating in December), I cannot agree with this enough. Kids need to know what comes next so they can be comfortable and free to explore life! Kids with special needs especially benefit from this because it decreases anxiety and helps them be able to communicate with us better.

    xo, Kimberly

    • thekingersandi
      July 23, 2017 / 10:21 am

      This is so true! Everything is so much easier when anxieties are put at ease & children can move through their daily routines

  15. July 22, 2017 / 7:16 am

    Both mine have a routine and our life is basically wrapped around their routine but it makes things easier and smoother. Having said that, a little change every now and then is necessary for them, I believe it makes them more adaptable.

    • thekingersandi
      July 23, 2017 / 10:20 am

      Yes that’s totally true. I think as long as children have the basis of a routine they find it much easier to adapt

  16. July 23, 2017 / 4:50 am


  17. July 23, 2017 / 6:06 pm

    I agree that routines really do help, especially at bed times. I think it’s helpful for the parents as much as the kids x

  18. July 23, 2017 / 7:25 pm

    It’s so true. I find that when we’ve had a massive break from routine, for example while on a long holiday, my eldest in particular finds it very stressful. His behaviour becomes terrible, and he really “acts up” but actually he’s just crying out for a bit of routine.

  19. July 23, 2017 / 9:15 pm

    So interesting, we have lots of little routines in our house, especially before bed and she doesn’t like it if it changes and now I understand why…

  20. July 24, 2017 / 4:23 pm

    So agree with this! We are big believers of routine. And I’d love to be a fly on the wall for your husband’s bedtime stories!

    • thekingersandi
      July 24, 2017 / 5:19 pm

      Ha ha!! They’re hilarious & he has the kids in stitches. I have no clue where he gets his ideas from!

  21. July 24, 2017 / 6:51 pm

    Routine is so important to them, isn’t it. Getting there can be a challenge though! We just moved and I am just about getting us back into a routine and it’s making a difference x

    • thekingersandi
      July 25, 2017 / 7:05 pm

      Oh my goodness, I feel your pain! We moved last September & the kids were all out of routine because we thought we were moving one week only to be told it would be 4 weeks later. We’d dismantled their beds because trying to move when you have 3 kids is a NIGHTMARE! So they had 4 weeks on their mattresses on the floor. It was fun for the first week & it wore thin very quickly!

  22. July 24, 2017 / 7:39 pm

    Routines are so important. Not just for the kids but for our sanity too lol

  23. July 24, 2017 / 9:54 pm

    I will bear in mind about routine when my little one arrives. James is so creative, must be a lot of fun for the kids.

  24. July 25, 2017 / 11:01 am

    When I was a child, I still remember I was never influenced with any Routines and mum never insisted me to follow any kind of routines!However, I do remember being flat on bed by the time the clock ticks 7:30, We enjoyed playing outside after school and the good 3 hours play definitely made me tired and I hardly bothered mum!

    But, with my kids I have to have strict routines and make sure there is a consistency in following these routines! DD1 hates sleeping for some strange reasons and there is a never a day she was alseep of tiredness! She plays/practises badminton everyday atleast for couple of hours and I am not still not sure why she doesn’t get tired!

    So, the routines are really strict in our house… either one parent stays with them for a short time reading or telling some bed time stories and off we leave! Before I hit bed, I just have a quick peek to see if they are really asleep!

  25. July 25, 2017 / 11:44 am

    B’s night time routine has really helped him, before then gosh I wouldn’t like to tell you what time he’d go to bed!

    Sometimes it just doesn’t work for every child though <3

  26. July 25, 2017 / 7:23 pm

    I don’t have children by myself still, but but I love to read and learn about their education and behavior, so I can be at least a little more prepared when my time has come. Love this article and I am 100% agree with it!

    • thekingersandi
      July 25, 2017 / 7:30 pm

      Thank you!

  27. July 25, 2017 / 9:07 pm

    My children are sticklers for their funny little routines too!

  28. Claire
    July 27, 2017 / 10:00 pm

    Not a mom but I think well rounded routine is very important!

  29. September 8, 2017 / 5:16 pm

    Routine is key in our house! My little boy has to have a bath e wet night otherwise he can’t understand that it’s bedtime. Your husband sounds good fun and very creative!

  30. September 10, 2017 / 6:32 pm

    I so agree with this! My daughter has always thrived on routine and anything that strays from the norm and she’s not happy about it! I love the things your James has done to entertain and gently distract your children from their distress. Now that she’s 10, Kaylah is able to distinguish between essential routine and some casual changes but likes to know where she stands in all things. Doesn’t do me any harm to have routine either, or else I end up forgetting stuff that needs doing!

    • thekingersandi
      September 10, 2017 / 7:24 pm

      James has an amazing imagination, the kids love his stories. They always end up in fits of laughter which is not always ideal when you’re trying to settle them down for bed 🤣!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *