Joint decision-making and often equal parenting time are the benchmarks of modern family law. Consistent routines between households are a good thing for kids. So how do these pieces fit together in your family puzzle? While it may initially get your back up to hear your ex ask you to abide by an 8:00 pm bedtime for your child, remember that your child will benefit in the long run from the consistency. Why is routine beneficial? Glad you asked. Here’s why:
- Routines allow your child to feel secure and confident: When faced with the unknown, children can feel scared and lack confidence. When children are given a consistent routine to follow (in both homes), they soon learn to master that routine. Mastering that routine, in turn, gives them a sense of pride and a feeling of confidence. The sense of confidence developed through mastering routine will lay the foundation for their coping skills as an adult.
- Routines lower stress levels: Children can feel significant stress and anxiety, especially when faced with different sets of rules and expectations in each household. Lowering a child’s stress level is critical. For a child, knowing where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing helps the child feel secure, which in turn lowers stress.
- Following routines teaches a child about boundaries: Children benefit from understanding that broken rules lead to consequences. Further, following routines consistently will foster the child’s development of self-discipline and time management as an adult.
It is important that co-parents communicate with each other to establish and monitor consistent routines. When communicating to establish an agreed routine between the households, co-parents should follow a discussion framework like this:
- What is your position/my position on this rule/routine?
- What consequences will we each enforce for broken rules?
- How will we reward our kids for good behavior?
- Are we going to be flexible or rigid on adherence to routine?
- How do we communicate these rules to our children – alone or together?
- Should only one parent by the lead on this issue?
Practice area: Family Law
© Marlene Kazman, 2021
This item is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice. Informed legal advice should always be obtained about your specific circumstances.