For some people, hearing the word “routine” causes stress. It conjures rigid schedules that can stifle creativity. However, most of us have routines we go by each day. We get up, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, etc. This is our morning routine. We do it because it is a necessary part of the day. Changing a few things or doing something out of order can ruin our day. As adults, we do these actions with little thought. They are simply parts of life.
Why a Routine is Important for Children
Minimizes fear of the unknown.
For children, knowing the routine lends to a sense of security. They know what activity comes next and can plan for it. Knowing the routines, they trust their environment and caregivers more. This trust will lead to helping them form relationships as they get older.
Reduces power struggles.
Vanderbilt University researchers have found children with a routine exhibit less problematic behavior. Their study found children with routines respond poorly when they
- Don’t know what to do
- Are unable to do something
- Are waiting with nothing planned
Children do best when they know the expectations in a scenario. There may be parts of the routine they don’t like. However, knowing it is part of the plan can minimize poor behavior and create a calmer household.
Promotes family bonding.
Whether eating breakfast together daily or knowing that story time comes at bedtime, a routine encourages intentional parent-child engagement. This helps strengthen relationships, creates memories, and can become a valued tradition.
Offers stability during stressful periods.
One only has to look back at 2020 to recognize how changing a routine can create stress. Routines changed, and people struggled with anxiety, fear, erratic emotions, anger, and much more. Children without routines lack stability. A routine can bring calmness and make it easier for you, the parent, to get things done.
Routines help make them independent.
By doing the same daily tasks, they become routine. And, in time, your child can do them without your help. They develop the motor skills and muscle memory needed to fend for themselves. This independence gives the confidence to try other activities. It also lessens the fear of doing something new.
Teaches them time management.
Help them understand how long each element of the routine will take. You may use an egg timer, a particular song, a show they like, etc., to help establish the time frame. However, knowing how long a task will take, they can learn to focus on the current task rather than waste time.
As a parent of a preschooler, it is essential to establish a routine that works with your family’s needs. Talk to Early Years Academy Child Care if you have questions about routines and how we incorporate them. We would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.