Family routines and social-emotional school readiness among preschool-age children

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26 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether preschool-age children's participation in family routines is associated with greater likelihood of having high social-emotional health (SEH). Methods: Data come from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort preschool wave, a nationally representative sample of children born in 2001. Based on the literature and distribution of responses, 5 routines were categorized as present if children participated in family dinners ≥5 days per week, reading, storytelling, or singing ≥3 times per week, and play ≥few times per week. A total routines score (0-5) was also computed. Mothers rated children's SEH on 24 items scored 1 through 5. Items were summed into a total score, which was dichotomized at >1 SD above the mean, to reflect low/high SEH. Multivariable analyses assessed associations between SEH, routines score, and individual routines, adjusting for confounders. Results: Among ;8550 children, 16.6% had high SEH. For each additional routine in which a child participated, there was a 1.47 greater odds of having high SEH. In adjusted models, participating in dinners: 1.4 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3-1.6), storytelling: 1.9 (95% CI, 1.6-2.4), singing: 1.5 (95% CI, 1.2-1.9), and play: 1.3 (95% CI, 1.1-1.5) was associated with increased odds of high SEH. Reading was not associated with greater odds of high SEH (1.2, 95% CI, 0.9-1.5). Conclusions: Participation in a higher number of routines and in select routines was associated with increased likelihood of having high SEH. Promoting family routines may contribute to greater SEH before school entry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Meals
  • Play
  • Preschool children
  • Reading
  • Social behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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