Healthy Routines Build Healthy Families: How small daily changes can add up to big benefits

Routine doesn’t necessarily mean boring. With all of the chaos of life, dependable family routines can create stability for everyone in the household that leads to physical and mental health benefits.

Experts in childhood development stress the importance of developing family routines. According to,Children do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent.” They stress a “happy compromise between…disorder and confusion…and rigidity and boredom…where children are given no choice and little flexibility.”

Benefits of Routine

Studies have shown that that establishing routines for children of all ages encourages healthy development. Routines that encourage healthy eating and exercise promote physical well-being. A child’s academic performance can improve with routine and kids with family routines have been found to be more emotionally and socially advanced.

Family routines can have long-lasting impact on the entire family. A 50 year research review by the American Psychological Association found that family routines and rituals contribute to multi-generational health and relationships. The study found that “one of the more common routines identified was dinnertime, along with bedtime, chores, and everyday activities such as talking on the phone or visiting with relatives. The most frequently identified family rituals were birthdays, Christmas, family reunions, Thanksgiving, Easter, Passover, funerals and Sunday activities including the “Sunday dinner.”

Establishing and maintaining routines can be a challenging task for many families. However, the benefits of routines for everyone are well-worth the effort. Experts recommend that families start small and then build from there. The good news is that once the routine becomes a part of your family’s life, it will have staying power.

Expert Advice

The CDC emphasizes the three main keys to building structure:

  • Consistency – doing the same thing every time
  • Predictability – expecting or knowing what is going to happen
  • Follow-through – enforcing the consequence (“say what you mean and mean what you say”)

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends building routines around your day:

  • Weekday Mornings
  • After School
  • Evenings
  • Bedtime
  • Weekends

When establishing routines, be sure to build in healthy activities and habits:


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