From morning routines to workout routines, 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, toddlers and young children. Here are three main reasons why routines for mealtime, nap time, playtime, bedtime, cuddle time, etc. are so important.:
1. Routines give infants and toddlers a sense of security and stability.
Routines help infants and toddlers feel safe and secure in their environment. Young children gain an understanding of everyday events and procedures and learn what is expected of them as routines make their environment more predictable. Routines can also help infants and toddlers become more trusting of you as a caretaker if their routines are effective and they feel comfortable in the environment.
2. Routines influence infants and young children's social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Infants and young children who have effective routines are often more engaged with their environment and the people around them. Young children learn to anticipate changes in routines, and they slowly become more independent as they learn what each routine entails. If routines are predictable, have appropriate transition cues, and have room for flexibility, routines will also help reduce challenging behaviours (tantrums, hitting, biting, etc.) in infants and toddlers and in older children.
3. Everyday routines can be used as teachable moments.
Everyday routines are full of learning opportunities for young children. For example, you can start teaching children the importance of washing their hands before eating or the importance of brushing their teeth. These self care lessons start in the family home and last a life time. The more self care skills developed in routines the more independence they will be able to take. You can also use these everyday routines as opportunities to talk with young children and help them develop their communication skills.
Be sure to check out our Parent Kit on how to create an easy routine in your home. It includes routine suggestions for ages 1-5 years, explanations and examples on family rituals, the key benefits and how to use your families routine to create a loving, strong and fun family unit.
Check out our Parent Kit on Family Routines for more information and suggested routines as well as the basics or routine charts.