Life is unpredictable. Whether it’s work, house chores, or car troubles, we can’t always create a consistent and structured environment for our little ones. This is where the importance of routines for children comes in.
Routines are an essential part of a child’s development, providing them with a sense of security, structure and predictability. However, creating routines is a lot easier than actually following them. In this article, we’ll delve into why routines are so important for your child’s development and offer some practical tips for incorporating them in your family’s daily life.
What are routines and why are they important for children?
Routines are regular patterns of behaviour that follow a predictable sequence or schedule.
They can be as simple as a morning routine that includes breakfast and getting dressed, or as complex as a bedtime routine that involves playtime, bathtime and storytime.
Regardless of the specifics, routines provide a sense of structure and predictability for children, which can be incredibly beneficial for their development.
The importance of routines for children can’t be underestimated, and this is particularly true in the context of childcare settings. One of the main reasons why routines in childcare are important is that they allow children to know what to expect throughout the day. They also help children learn important life skills such as self-regulation, time management, and responsibility.
Benefits of routines for children
Routines can provide a framework for your child’s day-to-day life that promotes their physical, emotional, and cognitive development.
Here are just a few reasons why routines are important for children:
Sense of security
Children thrive on predictability, and having a consistent routine can help them feel safe and secure. When children know what to expect, they are less likely to feel anxious or uncertain, and they can develop a greater sense of trust and confidence in the world around them. This, in turn, helps with creating a sense of belonging as children feel a sense of ownership and familiarity with their environment.
The importance of routines for children also extends beyond just daily activities, as they can help children adjust to new situations and feel secure in new environments.
When children have a consistent routine, they learn to follow a schedule and complete tasks independently. This allows them to develop independence and self-discipline skills, as well as the ability to manage their own time.
Having a consistent routine can also help children overcome separation anxiety. When children know what to expect throughout the day, they feel more in control of their environment and are better able to cope with transitions and changes.
Health and wellbeing
By incorporating healthy habits into your child’s routines, such as regular exercise and healthy eating, you can help them establish healthy habits that last a lifetime.
Additionally, the importance of routines in preventing infections should also not be overlooked. Consistent routines can help prevent the spread of illness by promoting good hygiene practices, such as hand-washing. By incorporating these practices into a child’s daily routine, they become second nature and help reduce the risk of illness.
How to help your child create a consistent routine
Creating a consistent routine can be a challenge, but there are several strategies that can help. Here are some practical tips for establishing a routine that works for your child and your family:
Set a schedule
Start by establishing a regular schedule for your child’s daily routine, including wake-up times, meal times, play times, and bedtime. As well as establishing good habits, having a consistent schedule can also help your child feel more secure and organised.
Involve your child
When possible, involve your child in creating their routine. Ask them for their input on what they would like to do at certain times of the day, whether that be choosing their own outfit or helping to prepare dinner. By becoming actively involved in their own routine, children are more likely to feel motivated to follow it.
Once you establish a routine, it’s important to stick with it as much as possible. Consistency is key to helping your child feel secure and confident in their daily routine.
Try visual aids
Visual aids such as colourful charts or calendars can be a helpful way to make the routine more concrete and understandable for your child. Use pictures or symbols to represent different activities, and make it a fun project to create the visual aids together.
While consistency is key, there is also a counterside to this. The best routines allow for flexibility and are adaptable to different situations. Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes schedules need to be adjusted to accommodate unexpected events or changes in routine. Be open to making changes as needed, but try to maintain as much consistency as possible.
Here’s an example routine for a preschool-aged child at home:
7:00 am – Wake up and have breakfast with family
8:00 am – Get dressed, brush teeth, and comb hair
8:30 am – Playtime, either indoor or outdoor activities
10:00 am – Snack time
10:30 am – Educational activity, such as reading or doing a puzzle
11:30 am – Creative activity, such as drawing or painting
12:00 pm – Lunchtime
1:00 pm – Naptime or quiet time
3:00 pm – Snack time
3:30 pm – Playtime/ physical activity
5:00 pm – Help with dinner preparation
6:00 pm – Dinner with family
7:00 pm – Bath time
7:30 pm – Story time and winding down for bed
8:00 pm – Bedtime
Of course, this child care daily routine example can be adjusted according to your child’s individual needs and preferences. However, it’s always a good idea to look at other child routine templates when building your own schedule for inspiration.
If you’d like to learn more about how Aurrum Kids can support your child’s development through routine and individualised care, we invite you to call us or book a tour at one of our childcare centres today