How to create a family routine

Children and teens thrive on routine. Having a clear structure for their day – from getting ready for school to prepping for bedtime – not only makes things run smoothly and avoids arguments, but helps their development too. That’s without even mentioning how beneficial routines are to your family relationships and stress levels. But how do you create a family routine that works for everyone – and why exactly are they so important? Let’s take a look.

Why is it important to have a family routine?

Though your day may naturally tend towards some kind of routine, creating a defined plan may seem like overkill at first. However, there’s a whole lot of research showing that well-defined, daily routines have a huge range of benefits for children. These include:

Improved language and social development

Planning your day enables you to protect time to spend with your kids, away from their devices – even if just to sit down and eat dinner together. This time provides the perfect opportunity for younger children to develop their language skills, whether it’s through telling stories about their day or from observing and learning about polite behavior.

Higher academic success

Simply having a routine in the first place, no matter what it is, goes some way to helping your kids succeed at school. But how? It turns out that having an organized home life eases the transition into the structure of the school day. It also helps kids to feel more in control of their time and therefore improves their independence as they move through the school years.

Increased sense of safety

Imagine you’re constantly going about your day being told to do things with no understanding of why, or what’s coming up next. Stressful, right? That’s how it can feel for kids! Knowing what to expect from the upcoming day helps children of all ages feel calm, secure, and looked after.

Better family bonds

A good routine provides regular opportunities for your family to spend time together. Whether that’s at meal times or family game nights, these moments provide space to build strong relationships and feel like a team.

Healthier online-offline balance

Children spend an average of 4 hours on devices each day – not including time spent while at school. It’s easy for kids and parents alike to pick up a device to fill a quiet moment and then fall into a TikTok-shaped rabbit hole. Having a strong routine can help your child prevent mindless scrolling, and ensure any screen time they do have is positive and productive.

Reduced parent stress

As a parent, you always have a lot to juggle. Home, work, school, your social life, your kids’ social life – it adds up quickly. Having to constantly make decisions throughout the day only makes things more stressful. A lack of structure also opens up opportunities for your kids to constantly make requests, whether it’s for one more TV programme or some time on their tablet. Having clear rules about when things can happen not only makes you feel more organized, but avoids these potential grounds for conflict. 

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How to create a family routine

If you haven’t sat down to create a defined routine before, it may feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to! You can get started with just a few easy steps – and don’t forget that you can always adapt your plan as you go along to ensure it really works for you.

1. Start with the bigger picture

To get started, make a list of the main parts of your family’s day. This could include activities like getting ready for school, doing homework, having dinner, and prepping for bedtime.

2. Fill in the detail

Then, get more specific. What does your family need (or want) to accomplish in each part of the day? A bedtime routine for example might include brushing teeth, a bath or shower, and time for reading. Make a list and then write down an estimate of how much time each step could take. This is also a good moment to think about whether each activity should involve devices, or if they can be screen-free. Our printable digital agreements will help you here.

3. Schedule the day

Put all of your daily activities and timeframes together. You can now estimate when each one needs to take place to give you enough time to do all of them.

4. Get your family’s input

Finally, make sure that your family is happy with your plan. Check that you haven’t missed anything, and that timings make sense. When you’ve agreed, help everyone to ensure they know their routine – younger children will need more help in this regard. Remember, this is an outline for your daily routine – if plans change at the last minute, that’s ok!

How parental controls can help

For each part of your daily routine, your kids will need different levels of access to devices. Maybe you want dinner time to be completely screen-free, while homework time lets them access educational websites. Parental controls, and Qustodio’s routines feature in particular, make this easy. You can schedule different device rules throughout the day to suit your family’s routine. And, with 4 readymade rule sets available, they’re easy to set up! You can:

Schedule study time

The study preset is set up to enable your child to access educational resources – while blocking distracting apps and websites like online games. While we recommend setting this during school time, you could extend it to cover homework time too! 

Give more flexibility for entertainment

Use the entertainment preset when you want to give your kids some more freedom to play on their devices – perhaps as part of your after school routine. It keeps unsafe content blocked, but allows access to games and entertainment apps.

Help them stay focused

The focus preset blocks their devices’ internet connections so they can focus on offline activities. Try this preset to help your kids really enjoy their offline hobbies.

Reduce screen time before bed

A healthy sleep routine aids in many areas of kids’ lives – from mood and school attainment to physical health. Using devices at night has been proven time and again to disrupt sleep. The bedtime preset blocks devices completely, helping your kids to put away their devices and sleep properly.

Activating any of these presets is easy when you have Qustodio: just log in, go to routines, choose add a routine and pick the preset you want. The handy calendar view makes it simple to keep track of what’s happening and when.

All in all, thinking about what you want to achieve in your day-to-day tasks, writing down your routines, and combining this with Qustodio’s tools, you and your children will feel calmer, more connected, and able to enjoy a better base from which to learn and grow.

Qustodio dashboard | kids screen time

How can Qustodio help protect your family?

Qustodio is the best way to keep your kids safe online and help them create healthy digital habits. Our parental control tools ensure they don't access inappropriate content or spend too much time in front of their screens.

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