Does having a routine help behavior problems? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 12:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The last two weeks have been really off for us. My work hours have been longer than usual, special events at church and a bout of colds. DD1's (3.5 yo) behavior has been getting worse during this time. Lot's of whining, backtalk, and tantrums. I think establishing a more reliable daily routine could help her, and I think it has helped in the past. DH isn't putting a whole lot of stock in it. Anyone else have experience with better behavior when having a good daily routine?

Crunchy Christian Wife and Mommy to awesome DH and DD1 (4/25/07) and DD2 (8/13/10)
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#2 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 12:44 AM
 
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Depends on the kid. My oldest absolutely needs to know the schedule and have a regular routine. My youngest just needs enough sleep. I personally like a light schedule to keep ME sane, which helps keep the rest of the family ticking over.

She could also be going through a growth spurt or getting sick or any number of things, so I would make the decision based on what works well for you, as well as what you think would work for her. Good luck!

(and I know how it is to be out of sync due to illness and other changes. It really can be disconcerting to adults, let alone kids...).

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#3 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 01:19 AM
 
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I agree that it depends on the kid. One of mine MUST have a routine or she is a basket case. She needs to know what will happen, and then have it happen. My other child is easier to be around with a routine, but can kinda go either way.

If the things that have caused your routine to be off have also meant less sleep, it's a double whammy.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#4 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I agree that it depends on the kid. One of mine MUST have a routine or she is a basket case. She needs to know what will happen, and then have it happen. My other child is easier to be around with a routine, but can kinda go either way.

If the things that have caused your routine to be off have also meant less sleep, it's a double whammy.
Anyway, hope everything goes well now.
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#5 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 09:07 AM
 
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A routine can't hurt! It certainly helps around here.

I also notice that every six months or so my daughter goes through a phase where her behavior becomes more challenging for a few days to a week. (sometime more).

I recognize it now as a developmental phase, she usually comes out the other side an inch taller, or with a new skill, and behavior goes back to "normal".
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#6 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 10:29 AM
 
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I think having a routine can help. Some kids need super-scheduling, others need things to be a bit loose... just like adults! What I do know is that a CHANGE in routine (like what you describe) can definitely screw things up. Add being run down from sickness and behaviour goes out the window. I'd say your best bet is to try to minimize activities for a little while. Keep things low key and try to keep to a basic routine. When kids are not feeling their best (off-kilter due to illness or any other reason) the security of knowing what to expect at any given time (we're home from school at x o'clock, then we do y, dinner is at z o'clock, then quiet time till bed... or whatever) helps them to feel more secure and they are less likely to act out.

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#7 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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My 3.5 absolutely needs his routine. It makes a 100% difference in his behavior. I am already dreading this weekend bc of festivities that will throw us off...ugghhh.
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#8 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
I agree that it depends on the kid. One of mine MUST have a routine or she is a basket case. She needs to know what will happen, and then have it happen. My other child is easier to be around with a routine, but can kinda go either way.

If the things that have caused your routine to be off have also meant less sleep, it's a double whammy.
That. Both of mine do better with a routine, but my oldest is more flexible about changes. But that may be his age. 3-4 is a pretty hard age imo so that doesn't help either.
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#9 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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My kids do best with a flexible routine. And knowing what comes next. My eldest (who is 9 and can read and write) has her morning routine written out and she can check off each thing as it is done. My middle (7, autistic, nonverbal, not really reading or writing--at least not functionally) has his routine "written" out in pictures, with the phrase underneath. I'd do that (the picture schedule) for a 3-4 year old. Nice thing is that on days when there will be a change, you can just change the pictures. So, if the routine is: wake up, eat breakfast, clean up, take bath, get dressed, go to the park, come home, eat lunch, watch video, naptime/quiet time in room, snack, play outside, daddy home, dinner, storytime, bed. Let's say your friend wants to go to the zoo and you agree that you'll go in the morning, just switch the park picture for zoo picture. Or, a doctor's appointment or a friend coming over--just insert it in the appropriate place. Some kids just like to be able to tell what is coming next. (and I've switched things around in the middle of the day if needed)
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#10 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 07:44 PM
 
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I think that for many children, having a routine or a rhythmn to their day can help them feel secure, and thus, better behaved.

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#11 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 08:17 PM
 
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I think most kids benefit from a gentle rhythm to guide them through their day.

DD knows that a few hours a week I do doula stuff OR write. She knows that some days we do errands, some we do nature stuff, some we bake, and some we do kid-yoga. Meal times and bed time are pretty much getting on a better rhythm, and I try to make room for rest time [books etc] and play time

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#12 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 08:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by karemore View Post
A routine can't hurt! It certainly helps around here.

I also notice that every six months or so my daughter goes through a phase where her behavior becomes more challenging for a few days to a week. (sometime more).

I recognize it now as a developmental phase, she usually comes out the other side an inch taller, or with a new skill, and behavior goes back to "normal".
Oh wow, I could have written that. We're going through one such phase right now. It is a hair puller, but now based on experience I hope we'll come out better on the other end...and DD will be taller! We're pretty good about routines around here. I find that disruption in sleep and rest are the biggest factors...despite the fact that the daily routine may remain the same. I'm sorry OP...I can empathize!

"Lawyers, I suppose, were children once." Charles Lamb.
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#13 of 17 Old 10-28-2010, 09:10 PM
 
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For us it is the downtime that is important. We have a routine but it is not super strict. However if we don't have at least one do nothing day a week we all tend to be a little hard to handle (myself included)
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#14 of 17 Old 10-29-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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In general, a little bit of a mildly flexible routine can help a child be aware of what's coming next. For some kids it can cause a bit of anxiety not knowing what will come, others not so much, but there's security in routine. It's like letting them know ahead of time how much longer they get to do a certain activity, as in telling them when they have 10 minutes left, then 5, then 3, etc. It prepares them for what's coming.

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#15 of 17 Old 10-29-2010, 12:47 AM
 
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I know that not all kids need a routine, but I do know that therapists favor a child having at least a flexible routine in place. DD has been to 2 therapists and dss has been to about 4, all of them, the first thing they ask is if we have a routine in place. Especially ensuring that they are getting enough sleep. If you noticed their behavior worsen when their routine got messed up, then I would think your kids probably need it.

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#16 of 17 Old 10-29-2010, 01:10 AM
 
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no. not when things are a little off around elsewhere.

my dd DOES NOT thrive on routine. we have a rhythm of course. all of us do. but we are in the moment people. mainly coz that's the way dd is. obviously bedtime after dinner time happens. what we do inbetween is what matters. somedays watch a movie, listen to teh radio, craft, read .... and definitely not a time thing. not like in bed by 7:30. nope. if she is tired she could be in bed by 7 pm or 9 pm. and if i dont respect that rhythm she'll just be up in bed till 9 pm. however i also have to recognise that she cant just go to bed. she needs downtime before bedtime.

the ONE key that would set off dd's behav for SURE - even now - is if she gets less time with me. it throws everything off. provided she is in dc. if she was with friends instead of me, that still would be better.

also the 3 things become even more important. rest, full tummy and enough exercise.
ANYTIME she was on her WORST behaviour i could trace it to either of these 3 reasons.

i also find even now before a huge growth spurt - whether physical or emotional, dd gets worse before she gets better.

kids are so different. i think what matters is what you think should be done. also remember she might respond to you guys differently. she might prefer routine with you, but she might prefer a loose style with her dad.

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#17 of 17 Old 10-29-2010, 06:44 AM
 
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Transitions and change can be really hard, adjustment periods can be tricky.

My DS does better with a routine for certain things. But none of us is really a routine person, like that bedtime is exactly the same time everyday, lunch is the same time everyday, but I have found that since my DS started preschool this year, he has benefited from the routine of getting up at the same time, the stimulation and learning he does in preschool and all of that has made our evenings less chaotic than they used to be. But he is a bit older than your DD. He used to be alot more volatile, tantrum prone and whiny when he was 3. For him, it was definitely a developmental thing.
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