Jo Abi feels pretty good that this week the ‘experts’ backed up what she’s always known – sticking to a strict routine makes her kids happy.
It all started when I was little. Mum ran our house like clockwork. Each day we knew exactly what time we were getting up, when we were eating breakfast, we knew which day we did our chores and which days we should play outside as much as possible, so mum could give the house a proper cleaning. We knew what we were having for dinner depending on what the night of the week it was – pasta on Wednesdays and Sundays, steak on Mondays, chicken on Tuesdays and Thursdays…
We knew what was expected of us, when, where and how and it was comforting.
Now that I'm a mum of three myself, it still is a huge comfort to know exactly how each frantic day is going to pan out.
I haven't always been as organised as I am today but from the day I had my first child almost 10 years ago, I have slowly moved towards a strict daily routine that I rarely venture away from. Some friends compliment my organisational skills, others say I'm too regimented.
Now a new study has shown that children whose families stick to a routine are emotionally and socially more advanced.
I'm sure next month there will be a study that states just the opposite, but I did allow myself a moment of vindication.
The research shows that children who are in routines are happier and more secure. Dr. Claire McCarthy, a pediatrician at Boston Children's Hospital, told Reuters, "When (children) are unhappy, insecure or unsure of their environment, energy goes into dealing with that, and not into learning."
"The routines in the study can help with what we call 'executive function': skills like problem-solving, negotiation, planning and delayed gratification. Having good executive function skills is absolutely important for school success."