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Handy Tips

How to Provide Routines and Structure for Your Kids

Children need structure and routine to thrive. An established routine–as well as knowing that they are being looked after by someone intently focused on their well-being–will help kids feel more safe and secure.

Knowing what to expect helps kids make the connection between action and result. For example, they know that at 7:30pm, it is time to take a bath, brush teeth and get pajamas on if they want time to watch a little TV (or story time) with Mom or Dad before bedtime. 

An example of a routine may be something like this, however, it is going to change depending on age:

  • Morning Routine:

    • Potty
    • Get dressed
    • Do hair
    • Dirty clothes in hamper
    • Make Bed
    • Breakfast
    • Brush teeth
    • School lunch
    • Get school backpack ready
    • Put shoes on
    • Hop in the car by 7:45am

Here is a great way to create your morning routine!

  • After School Routine:

    • Snack
    • Unpack backpack and lunchbox
    • Go through School Papers
    • Homework
    • Getting ready for an after school activity

If you need more guidance read this: How to create an after school routine that works well for your family

  • Bedtime Routine:

    • Bath
    • Pajamas
    • Dirty clothes
    • Brush teeth (all done by a certain time to allow for next points)
    • Potty
    • Book or tv
    • Hugs and kisses
    • Lights out by 8:30pm

Watch this video on how to create a night time routine!


Kids thrive on order. Instead of offering rewards to get them to meet responsibilities, set up a morning routine with a positive end result. Your child must brush their teeth, eat breakfast and get dressed before playing.

Notice playing is not being offered as a reward, it is the end result of finishing the routine. They should also be able to complete the routine in any order that works for them. Be flexible, however also be very clear about what is expected and by what time.

Also, if you find the morning routines are really not working, the first step is to make sure your kids are getting enough sleep. Sleepy kids will definitely not be able to function or think clearly in the morning! Or, change your tactic by preparing more the night before. Get them to prepare their school backpack the night before, have their clothes ready etc. Also, having an assigned area for school gear (backpack, lunchbox, shoes etc) helps so that you are not searching all over the house in the mornings.

You can create picture routine charts or use flash cards for younger children and create lists for your older ones to help them remember their routine.


I have been a professional nanny working with children of all ages for over 15 years. My work has taken me all over the globe and I have had many amazing adventures with the families that I have worked with, all of which has taught me a great deal about how to make parenting less stressful.

I helped create Mothers Lifestyle in order to share parenting tips and secrets that I learned along the way, as well as to provide life-saving tools and advice from the world’s leading experts that I rely on every day in my professional life.

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