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Established Routines and Better Health

ScheduleIn a 50 year longitudinal lit review of family rhythms and routines, the American Psychology Association found that those families that had established routines saw a 47% increase in social-emotional health of children as they grew up. 32 studies over a fifty year period were analyzed, and also differentiated between routines (those things that NEED to get done in a certain time frame and then end) and rituals (involving symbolism and who we are as group or family that is often passed down from generation to generation. Generally observed on holidays or “special times”) The overall resounding data was clear that our children are healthier with routines, family dynamics are stronger AND marital relations more stable.

I found this article to be of utmost interest particularly today. Our routines have been massively disrupted. Our children’s routines also changed. And uprooting routines, particularly in times of stress and chaos lead to a sense of trepidation. And yet, our routines are one of the only things we still have control over. So I challenge you to change your routines…not just for your sense of safety, but also your children’s. The natural feeling in times of stress is to simply let go of all aspects of time. And to “go with the flow” and allow our children to also direct our time. But studies show, that when our children, or us, cannot have some predictably in our day to day lives, we feel unsafe. And this creates undue tension within the family.

Routines can be very simple.

They can be as simple as committing to times in your day where you do the same things at the same times as before. If the kids had a snack time at 4:00pm – that stays. If family dinner was always at a certain time- that stays. If you went to the gym for an hour a day, you carve an hour out to work out in some way at home. If the kids had a chore list- that stays. Etc. When our brains are unhappy, insecure, or unsure of the environment- whether we are children, or adults, energy goes into those feelings, versus any learning or developing. And this time of uncertainty and fear demands the safe havens our homes to create as much “normality” as possible not just for our developing humans we raise, but for our own emotional wellbeing.

So, find flow in routines. Perhaps you may even find new ones you will keep when the world slowly starts turning again. In routine comes ease. And in ease comes creativity, alignment and stability.

Dr. Dave Hanson
Hanson Family Chiropractic

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