Importance of Family Routines and Rules – August 2011

Did you know that children actually like routines and rules?

According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations
in Milwaukee, Mequon, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “Rules and routines provide children
with a level of predictability that guide behaviors and support early childhood development. Children not only find comfort in this type of structure, but they also thrive on it.”


Family routines are activities that are repeated with some sort of regularity, so that family members come to expect them and understand what is involved with them.

Routines can include nightly family dinners, weekly chores, story time before bedtime, and making sure that your children are in bed by a certain time each night.

Anderson says that routines create unity between family members and preserve a family’s structure, because everyone has a role and an expected behavior. When these routines are repeated with consistency, children thrive because they know what is expected of them, how to go about completing the task at hand, and what the intended outcome is supposed to be.

   Rules are expectations for certain behaviors that a family is in agreement on. They are clearly defined and have definite consequences. Families often have rules in regard to safety, proper manners, family routines, and how to treat others.

According to Anderson, there are generally two kinds of rules: “Do Rules” (Do wear your seat belt in the car.) and “Don’t Rules” (Don’t talk in church.). Both types of rules should have consequences attached to them.

Finally, rules and their consequences must be consistently reinforced by both parents. Anderson says that if parents don’t present a united front on rules, children will look for a way to play one parent against the other or simply try to get out of the consequence. Consistency is critical.

   Ebenezer Child Care Centers will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on “The Importance of Family Routines and Rules” on Wednesday, August 17th, from 4:30-6:30
at their Mequon Child Care Center located at 10333 N. Enterprise Dr., Mequon. Family routines and meaningful rules are extremely important to the healthy development of children and to
optimal family functioning. At this FREE Family Fun Night, you will learn more about the importance of family routines and rules. Activities will include making a back-to-school routine chart,
creating a stone magnet, and doing a lunch box sorting activity. In addition to the activities, you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner on us! Registration is required. Please call 414-643-5070 to register.