Routines For Kids: Are You For Or Against?

Children who grow up without a daily routine at home do worse at school says new research from  The Prince’s Trust. The study from the youth charity found those with poor exam grades are twice as likely to say their days lacked set bedtimes and mealtimes as they grew up. The study of over 2000 16 – 25 year olds,  basically sums up what I’ve always believed – that kids need to have structure and routine at home to feel safe to cope with the outside world. I myself grew up in a household with a strict routine and yet married a man who came from the opposite. Mealtimes at his house were whenever he wanted and bedtimes weren’t enforced at all. As a result in the early days of parenthood we argued a lot about my ‘strictness’ over a routine yet, 6 years down the line my husband is a convert. I’ve also had friends tease me about my military zeal (bedtimes at 6.30 and 7, mealtimes at 7.30, 12.30 and 5.30 no matter what) but having recently spent Christmas with friends who’s 7 and 4 year old girls could choose when they wanted to eat and sleep, I am even more convinced by routines. What I witnessed was a mother on the edge and two constantly over tired demanding children. My friend isn’t someone who can’t be bothered to enforce things, but someone who believes routines squash kids and take away their decision making ability. Personally I think that’s a load of rubbish as routines not only save the sanity of parents but also help kids to develop self discipline, which then enables them to be disciplined at school and the outside world where there is always a routine in place. But am I being reactionary? What are your thoughts?