Supporting Development

Getting Into A Routine

Routines help children feel safe and secure. Knowing what to expect and when, helps them know what is expected of them and what they can expect from others. These patterns help keep life ‘steady’. Family life is busy for most of us. Having routines and boundaries can make life easier for everyone.

  • Knowing what will happen when helps parents make plans and feel more organised and calm.
  • Patterns in their day help children feel secure. It can help them to get in good activity and bedtime routines
  • For children in school having routines can help them settle into new environments or routines, cope with changes in their lives and help them eat and rest well.

There is a lot of talk a lot about the importance of getting into a routine. This can make it feel like a big thing, but it doesn’t need to be. Routines are very personal and need to work for you and your family. Routines are a personal choice, but is never too late to decide that it would help your family to have more structure in your lives.

Routines are built from every one getting used to the same things happening at the same times each day. They can begin early on with something like feeding your baby at night with the light on low - giving a message that nights are for sleeping. New routines don't happen quickly, to really get the benefits, you need to stick at it. 

Top Tips For Routines

Below you will find tips on how to help children at different ages follow routines.


Routines are there to give a framework for you and your family. They play a really useful part in keeping family life calmer and more organised. They can help everyone get enough family time and rest time.

Sometimes they won’t work for all sorts of reasons. Try not to worry when this happens. Having flexibility makes room for difficult times as well as fun times.

Get back to the routines that work for your family when you can. Your family will soon get back into the patterns that help them feel safe and secure.

  • Start with one thing at a time – maybe what time your tea is or when bath time happens.
  • Tell your child what the plan is – get them involved in thinking how it would work best for you all.
  • Make a plan to celebrate keeping to a new routine. Look for ideas on how to stay motivated.
  • Don’t worry if sometimes it doesn’t work out– just get back to it the next day.
  • Think about bedtime routines too. Having enough sleep will help children adjust to changes in the daytime routine. 

Who can Help?

If you are worried you can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

Young people aged 11-19 can text Chat Health on 07480 635060.

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