The importance of integrating our children into family routines

The importance of integrating our children into family routines

Family routines, such as mealtime, are essential in children's lives. In these instances, not only are good habits learned and acquired, but also senses of belonging and importance are generated, two basic aspects for healthy psychological and emotional development.

Integrating your sons and daughters into family routines allows them to feel as much a part as adults or older children in their own family. This sense of belonging is the basic motivation for general well-being and good behavior . A child who does not feel belonging, loved, respected and motivated is a child who presents disruptive behaviors in order to achieve family belonging.

Family routines provide the opportunity to discover and, therefore, learn healthy skills and habits . At the time of eating, for example, it is important that parents or caregivers provide a calm, entertaining and friendly environment, which allows the child to relate in a healthy way both with food and with the moment of feeding itself. . On the contrary, if we create a hostile environment, of challenges and bad times, the concept of feeding will become something tedious that children will avoid and that will cause them displeasure. This will result in an unhealthy relationship with food and also with family gathering times.

Sitting down to eat is much more than an eating process: it is a key space for connection, bonding and learning. How a family comes together to eat is part of its identity, and part of respecting our children is making them part of the family identity.

In relation to behavior at the table, it is expected, normal and natural that a small child does not behave like an adult in any situation. However, the more we allow them to be part of this instance, the more quickly they will learn from the behavior of others and adapt their own behavior to the context.

For all of the above, integrating children into family rituals fosters their sense of belonging and self-esteem . Children who are integrated feel more loved, respected, capable, validated, and generally have better behavior. They acquire better eating habits and behavioral norms compared to children who are segregated from family rituals, who tend to feel isolated, little validated, unimportant, not enough and deserving of family spaces. The latter also do not have the opportunity to discover and learn eating and behavioral habits.

Making your child part of family spaces will always be very positive.

Natalia Vargas López.

Clinical psychologist.

Specialist in positive discipline in the family.