Our lives as adults are filled with everyday routines that help keep us on schedule. Children also need to have predictable routines that have room for flexibility, especially infants and toddlers.
Reasons why routines and schedules are important
- Gives them a sense of security and stability.
- Influences their social, emotional, and cognitive development.
- Everyday routines can be used as teachable moments.
- Know what is happening now and what comes next.
- Know how to do an activity or task.
- Engage in learning.
Young children gain an understanding of everyday events and procedures and learn what is expected of them. They can also help the child become more trusting of you as a caretaker. Children that have effective routines are more engaged with their environment and the people around them. You can use their everyday routines as opportunities to talk with your child and help them develop their communication skills.
Schedule – is the big picture and includes main activities that happen throughout the day.
Routines – the steps needed to complete each part of the schedule.
All families need some type of routine to establish normalcy. Children often fear the unknown, and change can be stressful for them. When you include meaningful and important elements into your family life, you are letting your child know what’s important.
Schedule and Routine Tips:
- Keep it simple.
- Break down one of your scheduled tasks into steps to create the routine.
- Let your children help.
- Review the schedule every morning and throughout the day.
- Keep each day’s routine and schedule as similar as possible.
- Be flexible.
- Offer a choice in activities whenever possible.
Example of Daily Routines:
– The time to get ready in the morning.
– Mealtimes, bath times, nap times, and bedtimes.
– Housework, cooking, and cleaning schedules.
– Playtime, family time, and outdoor play.
Other Ways Your Child Will Benefit from A Schedule and Routine:
- Helps your child get on a schedule – Consistent routines will help your child and their’ body clocks’ with many day-to-day basics such as the ability to take naps and sleep well at night, ability to eat healthy and full meals, have regular bowel movements, have a healthy play and outdoor time, and a calm, relaxed behavior at ‘down times’ during the day.
- Bonds the family together – When your child knows what to expect and notices regular family activities, they begin to understand that family time is important.
- Establishes Expectations – When your child knows what is expected, they begin to complete tasks without issues.
- Creates a calmer household – The child will know what comes next; therefore, stress and anxiety are reduced.
- Gives your child confidence and independence – Rather than always having to tell your child what needs to happen, they will feel confident to go ahead and be in charge of themselves.
- Establishes healthy, constructive habits – Children who practice these skills will be able to manage their time better.
- Helps you remember important things – A routine helps you stay on track.
- Provides an opportunity for special’ daily routines’ – When you add something in like snuggling and reading, you are instilling special moments.
While there are many benefits to maintaining a routine, it is also important to remain flexible. Spontaneity and creativity are important factors in a child’s life. Every child is different, and you need to stay sensitive and adaptable to each child’s needs.
As time goes on, you will start to see what’s working and not working for the family. Remember, a routine is meant to help the family, not hinder it. Make sure it is healthy and positive for your child and other family members.
Routines and Parental Happiness
Routines help ease adults into parenthood. The early stages of becoming a parent can be overwhelming and sometimes put a strain on your marriage. Make sure to continue with your routine of a date night once a week or a special vacation spot. You can also incorporate a special ritual from your own childhood to bridge the transition from a couple to a family.
Routines provide the two key ingredients for learning: relationships and repetition. Make sure to enjoy these ‘ordinary’ moments with your child. If your child is having fun with you, they are learning too!
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