Routines for kids - why are they important?

Routines for kids - why are they important?

We all know that having a routine is hugely beneficial for kids, but it also pays off for parents, helping to lower stress levels and make the working week go more smoothly. Here's what you need to know. 


Related: Life skills for kids



What are the benefits of a daily routine?

Having routines is hugely beneficial for children because when everyone knows what is expected of them, it reduces stress levels and creates a sense of normalcy and calmness in everyone's life. This can be especially true for younger children during times of change, such as moving from primary to secondary school, exam time or when life gets complicated. Here are other ways routines can be beneficial.


  • They provide a sense of security: Routines can give a sense of security to children. Knowing what to expect makes them feel more secure and less anxious, leading to better sleep, behaviour, and overall well-being.

  • They save time: Routines can help families save time by eliminating the need to make daily decisions about what to do next. This can be especially helpful for busy families with little time to spare.

  • They help create positive behaviour and life skills around living with others and being helpful.

  • They can increase responsibility and productivity: A daily routine can help kids learn to be more responsible around the home and in life. When kids know what they need to do and when they need to do it, they are more likely to get things done.

  • They lead to improved sleep: A daily routine can help kids get a good night's sleep. When kids go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, their bodies get into a rhythm, and they are more likely to sleep soundly.

  • Better behaviour: A daily routine can help kids develop good habits. When kids know what is expected of them, they are more likely to behave positively.

  • Stronger relationships: A daily routine can help kids build stronger relationships with their parents and caregivers. Kids feel loved and supported when parents and caregivers meet their expectations.

Related: Reward chart ideas to encourage positive behaviour, How to teach responsibility to a child


Tips for creating a daily routine schedule for kids

  • Agree on a routine before starting it and make it easy for kids to follow by having it somewhere they can see, perhaps in their bedroom and the kitchen.

  • Keep the routine consistent, as this is the key to success. Let elements slide or change things without telling kids, and they will start to believe it's unnecessary to stick to what's been agreed.

  • Start small. Don't try to do too much at once. Start by creating a simple routine for the morning and evening. You can start adding more activities once your kids are used to that.

  • Be flexible. Things don't always go according to plan, so be prepared to change your routine. If your kids are sick or there's an unexpected event, don't stress about it. Just relax and go with the flow.

  • Make it fun. A routine doesn't have to be boring. Make it fun by including activities that your kids enjoy. For example, you could let them choose what they want to eat for breakfast or what they want to do for their evening walk.

  • Get your kids involved. Ask your kids for their input when creating the routine. This will help them feel more invested in it and more likely to stick to it.

  • Reward your kids. When your kids follow the routine, be sure to reward them. This will help them stay motivated and on track.

  • Have a weekend routine that differs from the week to allow kids more time to do the activities they like and love.

  • Have consequences when routines are ignored. If you don't hold your child accountable for not sticking to the routine, they won't feel they have to.

  • Be a good role model - meaning make sure you follow the routine too. Kids will hate it if you ignore the routine but make them stick to it.


Daily routine examples for kids

The best way to ensure a routine sticks is to let your kids have input in designing the routine, be willing to be flexible and be consistent (even when you don't feel like it). The following are examples, as routines should be tailored to your child's needs and what you think is appropriate for your child and family. For instance, if your child is involved in extracurricular activities, you may need to adjust the time for homework and breaks. If you get home late, you may need to adjust meal times.


Daily routines for primary school children

  • Wake up at 7 AM

  • Get dressed and ready for school

  • Eat breakfast

  • Brush teeth (you might want to do this before)

  • Leave for school at 8 AM

  • Come home from school at 3:00 PM

  • Downtime until 4.30 (this can be whatever you decide with your child)

  • Do homework

  • Eat dinner at 7:00 PM

  • Downtime

  • 8.30 take a bath or shower

  • Read a book

  • Brush teeth

  • Go to bed at 9 PM


Daily routines for secondary school children 

  • Wake up at 7:00 AM

  • Get dressed and ready for school

  • Eat breakfast

  • Brush teeth

  • Leave for school at 8 AM 

  • Come home from school at 3.30 PM

  • Downtime 

  • Do homework/revision at 4.30 PM

  • Eat dinner at 7 PM 

  • Downtime 

  • Brush teeth/shower

  • Go to bed at 10:00 - 11:00 PM


Daily routine for teens

If you have a teen, you'll know it can be hard to get them to do what you want, so be more flexible with their routine, sticking to the essential elements. For example:

  • Get up at X time

  • Go to school on time

  • Do homework/revision for X amount of time

  • Tidy room

  • Help around the house

  • Go to bed at X time


Tips for the school morning routine with kids

Mornings can be the most stressful time of the day, so make it easier by simplifying what needs to be done, prepping in advance and tailoring your routine to each child. For example, if one child hates being rushed, wake them up earlier. If your kids fight in the bathroom, introduce a bathroom schedule. Here's what else will help.

  • Prep the night before. School bags, uniforms and homework should be packed and ready before bed. Include this in the night routine, ensuring your kids take responsibility for this part.

  • Have the same wake-up time every morning. Wake-up time, bathroom, getting dressed, breakfast and being ready to leave should be done in the same pattern every morning for it to stick.

  • Make breakfast simple. Always make it a choice within a choice, 'Would you like this cereal or that cereal?' "Would you like toast with jam or toast and an egg?'

  • Add in a five-minute leaving warning. This is for shoes, coats and bags.

  • Double-check everything at the door. Get used to running through items they need as a checklist: lunch box, PE kit, pencil case, books etc.

  • Don't constantly remind children; instead, direct them to the routine so they learn to be responsible.

What types of chores should be included in routines?

It pays to include chores for kids in daily routines that help teach life skills to your child around caring for themselves, where they live, and contributing to family life. 


For younger kids, this can be anything from:

  • Clean teeth

  • Go to bed on time 

  • Get up on time

  • Get dressed 

  • Make their bed


For 8 - 12 year olds

  • Homework

  • Tidy room

  • Set the table for dinner

  • Go to bed on time

  • Fold laundry


For teens

  • Go to bed on time

  • Budget their pocket money

  • Empty dishwasher

  • Homework

  • Get up on time

How can GoHenry help?

GoHenry is a prepaid debit card for kids with a companion app that makes it easy for parents to give their children pocket money for doing chores. With GoHenry, parents can quickly and easily set up tasks and pay their child's pocket money when marked complete. This helps children learn responsibility and the value of work.




Related articles:

Soft skills for kids

Growth mindset for kids

Independence for kids

Resilience for kids

Life skills for tweens
Written by Anita Naik Published Jul 28, 2023 ● 6 min. read