Summer break is just around the corner, and while some families are looking forward to letting loose, others may feel a sense of unease without the structure and safety that the school day provides. Here at Family Service Agency, we encourage all families to enjoy the time off from school, while sticking to routines at home as much as possible. Through our family education programs, parents are encouraged to establish positive and caring routines for their children. A nurturing routine is a consistent way of parenting that empowers children by building their sense of consistency, predictability and success, which in turn enhances their self-concept and self-esteem.

The goal of nurturing routines is to allow children to develop their autonomy and independence at the same time they learn to cooperate. The benefits of setting up systematic family procedures are for the whole family. Routines help children to cooperate because they know what to expect, and help parents because a cooperative child generates less stress than a child who challenges and questions all requests. For nurturing routines to work, it is important that parents view them as a partnership where parent and child work together toward a common goal.

Nurturing routines consist of:

  • Gentle positive touch
  • Praise for being
  • Praise for doing
  • Pleasant expressions/ tone of voice
  • Having a sense of caring
  • Having fun and a sense of humor


  • Hand on shoulder or rub back gently
  • “I love that you’re my daughter.”
  • “I really like how you tried to help.”
  • Look at a mirror beforehand
  • Get down to your child’s level
  • Use a silly voice or make it a game

Nurturing routines can be established for:

  • Diapering and dressing times
  • Feeding times
  • Bath times
  • Bed times

Try these tips:

  • Offer two choices, allow their input
  • Reinforce personal choice in eating
  • Encourage play, i.e. squirt bottles
  • Incorporate massages and reading

Nurturing routines require letting go of:

  • Wanting to do everything for child
  • Expressing “I know more”
  • Feeling “I’m in charge”
  • The idea of “I don’t have time”

What to do instead:

  • Break down tasks into smaller steps
  • Observe child to see what they can do
  • Assist, but let them take the lead
  • Practice routines on the weekends