5 ways to help build a routine

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1. Try to stick to the same times and routine before bed, even at weekends. The more you all stick to the same patterns, the easier for children it is for to ease into bedtime. The process of having a bath, getting ready for bed and having story and wind-down time before going to sleep, will allow you to spend time together and help them settle into a daily routine.

2. The right TV or video content before bed can help children to wind down… just make sure they know when the last programme is and when it is time for the screen to go off. Leave an extended period before going to bed (see more here) and try to avoid TV or devices in the bedroom.

3. Encourage children to try helping themselves get ready by doing new things like putting their own shoes on, packing their bag or brushing their teeth. Praise them for their helpfulness, telling them how grown-up they are being!

4. Have ‘tidy-up time’: where you all join in putting away toys or activities, no matter who made the mess. We (somewhat embarrassingly) find that singing the “tidy-up time, tidy-up time, toys away, toys away” song (to the tune of Frere Jacques) helps encourage the kids to join in.

5. Give children 10, five and two minute warnings: before leaving the house in the morning, before dinner or before going to bed. If they know how long they have, it can avoid last minute rushes to find things or tantrums when they want to finish an activity.