The Impact of Structure on Kids

The Impact of Structure on Kids

Why do kids need structure? It’s simple really.

1) Sense of security and safety:

  • Children need structure to ensure their physical and emotional safety, which is a key instinct for anyone. Environments that are unstructured can negatively affect a child’s development

2) Learning!

  • Learning is a part of life, no matter what age or stage you may be in. Learning rules and understanding limits, children are then educated about the world around them and how to act and live in society appropriately.

3) Disappointment and Frustration:

  • Throughout life, sadly there can be disappointment and frustration. Children must learn how to cope and handle feelings associated with disappointment and frustration. This can be especially helpful for later life events.

4) Responsibility:

  • Limits, demands, and appropriate structure can help children develop and learn self-control, discipline, and make responsible choices on their own.


How do I provide structure?


1) Structuring the environment:

  • What activities your child is involved in, what times those occur.
  • Using a calendar with specific times can be a helpful visualization for children

2) Daily Routines:

  •  Wake up time, breakfast, leave for school, activities, dinner time, bedtime

3) Effective Discipline:

  • Establishing rules
  • Using rewards for positive behaviors


Does too much structure affect a child creativity, spontaneity, and happiness?

The answer is that it doesn’t have to! In life, there are instances where rules are broken, such as structure. For instance: There is a lunar eclipse that your child wants to stay up past their bedtime for it. This is a natural occurrence that doesn’t happen too often. In this case, the rules are made to be broken. There are going to be instances related to this that come along, and some unstructured is OK! There is no reason that structure must be oppressive for anyone, kids included. Offering and supplying routines, traditions, and structure can make you and your child’s life easier and happier! During this, children will begin to soak up the security and safety of routine and eventually internalize that structure into their “own” lives and future.

Additional Benefits!

  • Helps kids cooperate
  • Eliminates power struggle
  • Help children take charge of their own activities
  • Keeps children on a healthy schedule


Just Remember:

  • COMMUNICATE with your child!
  • Don’t (always) negotiate: remember there will be instances of unstructured though!
  • Always follow through


If you are struggling to provide structure or would like some added guidance to working with your child, please call or email us to schedule an appointment. 303-353-9226 or