In a recent analysis, the Shelby County Schools (SCS) and The Urban Child Institute (UCI) study group looked at the ways family routines and other positive parenting practices support the readiness of new kindergarten students. Research tells us that family routines, like regular bedtime or mealtime routines, help children develop self-control and self-confidence. Family routines also help strengthen children’s early language and literacy skills.
When families have a range of daily routines that involve both parents and children, those children are more likely to develop strong social and emotional skills, and reach school with more powerful language, academic, and social skills.
Last fall, we asked parents of incoming kindergarteners to tell us about their family routines. Parents were asked how often they engaged in different types of routines with their pre-schoolers, like getting ready in the morning, getting ready for bedtime, or at mealtimes. Parents were also asked about a range of other positive parenting practices, like reading with their children, singing the alphabet, and playing counting and sorting games.
Parents’ responses were then compared to their children’s kindergarten readiness scores. Each fall, incoming kindergarteners in Shelby County are given a measure of reading readiness called the Istation Early Reading assessment, which helps the district see if a student is performing at grade level, moderately below grade level, or severely below grade level. For this study, we compared the Istation Early Reading scores of 354 new kindergarteners with information on family routines collected from their parents.
When families establish and try to keep to regular routines – particularly around getting ready in the morning or getting ready for bed – their children are significantly more likely to reach kindergarten on grade level for Istation Early Reading.
Contributing Authors: Marie Sell, Doug Imig, Shahin Samiei
A Partnership between The Urban Child Institute and Shelby County Schools