Routines are Right!
Posted April 30, 2012on:
Young children thrive on routine.
We teach them this both intentionally:
- Potty users learn to “flush & wash” before they leave the bathroom.
We also teach routines unintentionally:
- If you walk a dog, chances are you leave the house and follow the same path each day at the same time.
- Car routes to school or childcare have the same sequence of turns.
- Even very young car- seat users recognize this.
Children learn routines and count on routines.
Routines help children learn to read their bodies. Babies have no sense of body changes indicating elimination. Young toddlers will feel these signs and often find a little hiding space to fill a diaper. We watch them, note the time and offer language to help; “I see you’re ready to go to the potty now.” This helps them and you! At the end of the day, the routine of play, dinner, bath, story and bed are welcome to a tired little body learning to relax and sleep.
Older children find an order for their day through routines. Young children learn routines through large chucks of the day; morning, afternoon and night. This becomes more and more detailed as they get older; morning, school, sports/clubs, homework, outside play, relax time, sleep. From preschool on, classrooms provide a schedule of the day for children. This is a very tangible way for children to learn to count on and follow routines for a sense of order and consistency.
Routines provide a sense of trust. Families who always show up when they say they will, help children trust their world. Babies are fed when their bodies are hungry. Toddlers are helped in the potty when they wake from nap. Older children know when to get homework books on the table. Calendars are posted for all extra events and routinely checked. All children are hugged, kissed and tucked in bed at the same time each night. They count on it.
Spring is here, summer time is around the corner. With this comes the challenge of keeping little ones in bedtime routines. It is now lighter later at night. This takes time to get used to. Patience is a virtue!
The next time your little ones are “out of sorts”; take an inventory of what is going on around them. It’s a good bet that there have been changes that they have not chosen to make, but are required to be part of.
Keep routines consistent as much as you can.
Children’s internal clocks go off at the same time each day. Even on weekends, provide a nutritional breakfast, cleaning & dressing and then active play routines. Be aware of those internal clocks no matter how old your child is. The more consistent their routine is, the better off they are.
“As she gets older, when a child knows what is going to happen and who is going to be there, it allows her to think and feel more confidently and freely.” Dr. P. Gorski, Harvard Pediatrics “When she does not know what to expect, her internal alarms go off.”
-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director