Consistency vs Flexibility

21st November 2011  |  by Greg

Which would you rather be – consistent or flexible?

Is it possible to be consistent and flexible?

I have a little advice on this topic. I’ll give an example that most parents will recognise and that’s getting children to go to sleep at a consistent time. When children are very young, we don’t have much control over when they go to sleep or when/how many times they wake up. The only thing we do have control over is the time we put them down to try to go to sleep. Here, we are simply starting to establish a routine.

As our children get older we can then do our best to set some expectations for bedtime. A bath, a story and sleep. Repeat.

So, what if friends that you don’t see very often are coming over or it’s a birthday or any other reason that might be an excuse for the kids to stay up late? Is it acceptable to break the bath, book, bed routine. I think it is, as long as there is a routine to break in the first place.

Some parents try to be flexible with the routine before the routine is established. You can’t do this unless you choose flexibility over consistency.

In the classroom, it makes so much sense to establish routines and the best way to do this is by having reasonable and consistent expectations. When you’ve got these in place, that’s the time to be flexible.

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