Family members have consistent wake-up times and bedtimes, do regular housework, as well as have shared breakfast and dinner; these activities seem mundane and look like typical family routines. But what do they truly signify?
Family routines are a sequence of actions regularly followed by a family. A family routine describes familiar patterns or repetitive actions on which family members rely to organize their daily lives, get things done, and spend time together as a family.
Beyond their practicality, family routines offer dedicated time for families to engage in shared activities and meaningful conversations, enabling them to establish a sense of stability and connect with each other on a deeper level.
Moreover, by maintaining consistent family routines, family members can cultivate essential skills, including time management, teamwork, responsibility, and discipline, that contribute to individual well-being and family functioning.
This article explores the role of family routines in nurturing healthy family relationships and how a family can establish routines that suit them best.
Benefits of family routines
Family routines have a vital role in family life. However, as family routines are characterized by their ‘normalcy’ and repetitiveness, they often seem mundane, and their benefits can be easily taken for granted.
Still, family routines bring various benefits that contribute to healthy family relationships such as the following:
Improved communication and family bond
Having consistent family routines can promote improved communication within the family, as it involves complex and mutual interactions between family members. When creating and maintaining a family routine, family members must communicate with each other about who should do what, when, in what order, and how often. From there, a family can strengthen family bonds which may lead to family satisfaction.
Enhanced time management
Greater regularity of family routines was also reported to be highly associated with better time management within a family as it provides the structure that allows family members to understand their responsibilities, when, and how to get things done effectively.
Other than having positive impacts on family relationships, engaging in consistent family routines also enables family members to develop healthy behaviors that are beneficial for each family member’s well-being. Engaging in family routines was found to buffer stress and help families develop resilience during stressful times, as family routines offer stability.
Development of healthy behaviors
For children in the family, the existence of family routines has been shown to contribute to language development, social skills building, and academic achievement. Family routines can help children develop functional skills, including problem-solving, planning, and negotiation. These skills are strongly associated with success in academic and social settings.
3 Simple ways to develop family routines
Family routines are not one-size-fits-all. Every family may have unique routines depending on their situation. However, establishing family routines that are not suitable for your family can be daunting and only create more stress than their worth.
Below are ways how families can create routines that work best for them:
Set realistic goals
Engaging in family routines can be fun and a lot easier for the entire family if you set realistic expectations and goals for each routine. In order to set realistic goals, it is critical to make sure that you create a family routine that is appropriate to the age and developmental stages of your family members so that a routine can match each family member’s abilities.
Include all family members
Family routines should meet the needs of individual family members. Therefore, involving all family members in the process of establishing family routines is of paramount importance.
It is vital for parents to discuss with each other before talking about routines with their children. Make sure that you are on the same page about the goals of family routines that you would like to establish. Parents can also consult with children to tailor a routine best suits them.
Be adaptable to challenges and changes
In the effort to maintain consistent routines, family members may have conflicting schedules that make it more challenging for them to allocate dedicated time and maintain consistency in family routines.
Families should remember that although family routines provide structure and predictability, maintaining flexibility and collaborative planning is no less important in ensuring routines work in the family.
Being flexible to challenges and adjustments is important. This can be done by improvising, such as by communicating with family members to weigh alternatives, consider options, and make decisions in an attempt to restructure a family routine.
Family routines play a pivotal role in nurturing healthy family relationships and family members’ well-being. Although family routines may appear mundane and trivial, these repetitive actions provide stability, structure, and opportunities for families to develop positive communication.
The benefits of family routines extend in many areas. It can promote family satisfaction, buffer stress, and foster resilience during challenging times. Furthermore, having consistent family routines can also help family members, especially children, develop the skills necessary to achieve success in various areas of life.
By tailoring a routine based on families’ specific needs and circumstances, families can create routines that work best for them and, thus, enhance family cohesion and overall well-being.
If you would like to see more resources on family routines, check out the Family Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Family Science Labs today.
Photo by Anil Sharma on Pexels