My 8-year-old is rigid about her routine!

QUERY: My 8-year-old daughter is very rigid when it comes to things and routines. For example, when she was young, I had separated her morning clothes and nightclothes, and she is still stuck on those rules. Like if we are travelling and we only have bread with us, she won't have it for lunch or dinner because in her head it is to be eaten only for breakfast. I want her to be more flexible and not be too stuck on things.

RESPONSE: Thanks for your query. Sometimes it can be hard for children to change their habits and be flexible. You can start by sharing stories (e.g., adventure stories) around flexibility and adjustment with characters in the story in difficult situations and finding alternatives with the given resources. You can further teach self-talk and tweak everyday routines. Children often look up to their parents; you can be a role model in helping them adapt to change and understanding that change is inevitable. Try changing rules around everyday things, even small changes such as change of rules for their favorite board games show children that it is okay to do things differently. Children should learn that it is not always possible for one to always get their way but they can be happy anyway. Positively reinforce with the help of praise and small rewards when flexible around routines and peers. When children learn that rules aren’t always set in stone, they start to approach problems in a new direction further enhancing their problem-solving skills. Adjustments are a part of life skill. In case the problem persists, please do not hesitate in seeking timely professional advice.


Dr. Sameer Malhotra is the Director, Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Max Hospitals.
5 Views    
Facebook Facebook Twitter Linkedin Google Pinterest

Related Articles

Refer your 10 female friends! Earn Instant 500