Q: Why are routines so important for newly adopted older kids?
A: According to Dr. Victor Groza, children benefit from structure, routine and predictability as they transition into a new home. Sometimes they have been in chaotic environments in addition to being maltreated. As a first step in healing and connecting, knowing what is expected and when it is expected is important. For the parent, having consistency and initially more rigidity, you can begin to see in what ways your child might struggle or you understand some skills they need to be taught. You shouldn’t assume they know or have been taught the basics like manners, hygiene, or how to participate in family life. You can begin the task of helping them learn to live in your family within a consistent structure. Children learn the skills of living in your family by having routine and predictability.
Dr. Victor Groza, along with Dr. Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero and Dr. Gloria Russo-Wassell, is the author of Adopting Older Children: A Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children Over Age Four. For more information on this topic, listen to the Creating a Family radio show they were guests on: “Adopting Older Kids: A Practical Guide” and visit our blog on the topic: “5 Essential Tips for Parenting Older Child Adoption.”Image credit: Steve Slater