How to Set Up a Family Routine That Works

As seen on the Supernanny show, setting up a Family Routine may help your family use time more effectively. Your child will be reassured by the routine's structure, and everyone will know what's expected of them.

Benefits of a Routine

Research suggests that children whose families follow a daily routine may be healthier, better behaved and could even perform better at school. Just having dinner together every night helps a family get to know each other, and a bedtime routine is essential for build a good sleep pattern in your child.

Whilst set times for waking, meals, shared chores, bath, TV time and bedtime might fill you with horror, with the right routine you could find you use your time more productively. Your child will find structured family life reassuring and, just as with House Rules, it’s easier to function as a whole when everyone knows what’s expected of them.

You don’t have to write it up and stick it on the fridge, but this will help if you are hoping to engage your children in the routine. Otherwise, take a quiet moment to write out the ideal routine for your family and commit it to memory.

How to set up a routine:

  • Start to build the routine around the times people wake, eat and sleep.
  • Be realistic and allow enough ‘dither time’ for your children to wash and dress, especially if this is new for them.
  • Add in extras to the routine which you know your family needs; chore time, one-to-one time if you have more than one child, homework time and any out of school clubs or classes for older children.
  • Pay close attention to night time: if bags are packed, sports stuff is ready, school clothes are laid out and water bottles filled there’ll be less to do in the morning. School age children can help with all of these things. You could even set up a specific Bedtime Routine.
  • If you can, remember to rotate duties with your partner, especially the bedtime routine as this will increase your child’s trust in both parents.
  • Get as much input as you can from your family and talk it through with other carers. A routine which works for everyone will be much easier to stick to.
  • If there's one activity, like toothbrushing, which is a nightly sticking point, set up a Reward Chart to deal with it, or add this chore to your child's existing chart.
  • When you first start the routine, talk your family through every step (even if you’re tired of the sound of your own voice). Within a few weeks, your child could be reminding you ‘Seven o’clock, Mum, you should be reading me a story!’

Related links

Superstars Reward Charts: Saying ‘Well done’ to your child is the very best way to promote good behaviour. Download for free one of Supernanny’s ready-made Reward Charts.

Bedtime Routine: As seen on the show, the Bedtime Routine ensures your child gets enough sleep, while you get time to yourself…

The Same Page Technique: Sometimes, it’s Mum and Dad who need to think about where they could be going wrong. This technique is used on the show to open communication between parents.

The Involvement Technique: Getting your children involved with chores and shopping trips can make all the difference to how much they (and you!) enjoy them.

Kids and chores: How to create some housework harmony....Check out our quick guide and get your family working together as a team to get the chores done!

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