Is it really necessary and beneficial to establish routines for children?
Yes, routines are really necessary and important because they bring consistency of daily events and it is comforting for children and gives them a sense of predictability for what is to come.
- They know what is expected of them at all times
- They know what to expect from their environment and surroundings
- It makes them feel valued, accepted and loved
- It gives them security and therefore self-confidence
- It provides positive support for their confidence and therefore personal independence
- It teaches them to be cooperative
- Through routine, they also learn
- Hygiene routine helps the child to take decisions into his own hands
- This also helps them to differentiate gender and hygiene habits in general
The key to a successful routine is consistency and taking into consideration the child’s biological needs.
Why should we avoid changing children’s routines?
Because change causes disorder and insecurity. It’s important to establish regular hours for certain activities, including meals, bathtime, play, and bedtime.
Why should this change with time?
Because it’s necessary to change these according to the biological rhythm and development of each child. Children’s needs can change from one month to the next, even from week to week, and therefore it’s important to adjust routines to the child’s changing needs. Little by little babies sleep less and don’t spend all day sleeping and eating but will have periods of time when they are awake and players will need to be introduced into their routine. And this will continue to be the case for each milestone.
External organization permits the child to self-regulate, this is very important for their emotional development. Furthermore, external order creates an internal order which enables the formation of psychological structures, a fundamental aspect for intellectual development.
For the child to develop well it’s fundamental the significant presence and support of adults (parents, tutors, grandparents, carers). As adults, we need to be flexible companions, caring, and understanding. We need to establish clear rules with respect to what we ask from them and with how much we will assist them. We need to be loving and firm in our delivery of rules yet tolerant, clear and constant, with both partners united in their approach.
The baby’s own body will lay down the rules for its basic needs such as sleeping and eating, needs which we shouldn’t interfere with but in which we can help our baby to associate these needs with enjoyable sensations and therefore help in their development.
All babies love being pampered, having their hair gently brushed, getting dressed and enjoying and relaxing bath-. The best time for the baby’s bath is the time that best fits into your free time as a parent and of course to the baby’s needs, but as a general rule of thumb before dinnertime helps the baby get ready for bedtime.
The play is also a routine for babies, including for the littlest ones. Through play, they explore their surroundings and they communicate with the adult.
In so far as sleep patterns, the aim is to create a pattern which not only satisfies the needs of the baby but also guarantee you as a parent some time to relax. The best thing to do is establish this early, from around 4 months old which avoids complicating the introduction of other routines later on.
Routines for Toddlers 12 – 18 Months
The child has more time to do other activities, as well as eat and sleep, which will benefit his/her development. As they grow they become an active role-player of their routines.
Getting dressed: this routine helps their self-confidence. They need to learn how to be an active part of this activity.
organisation, this helps them accept rules and regulations and limits. If they want to play and have a good time then they have to pick up and tidy up after themselves.
this is also a routine. It’s the most important activity that children need to do. Through play children grow, learn and mature in all ways. The child’s method of play is an indication of its maturity.
Bath-time: helps them relax, besides exploring their body, acquiring knowledge of their physical being and a healthy body image.
A good time to talk, chitchat about the day or for us to talk to them. If you are teaching them to eat independently make sure you put clothes on them that you don’t mind if it gets dirty and in this way your child can try and eat unaided comfortably.
We can keep them company for a while and read them a story at bedtime but they need to be the ones to demand sleep at some point. This routine is very important to instill from an early age. You should avoid your child falling asleep in your arms from the early months as if you do this a routine will be established and later it will be difficult to avoid this and your child will want and need to always fall asleep in your arms.
If your children live in more than one home, make sure that each home sticks to the same routines. Adults need to agree in advance on what children need to adhere to. It is hugely beneficial if both parties reach an agreement unanimously. It’s also very important for getting the logistics of school right. Understanding their timetable, their routines, and habits in different situations.
Gabinete Psicopedagogico de Eduqa Escuelas Infantiles
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