The Importance of Routines in Young Children
Routines are important for every child not only at school but also at home. When children are very young, routines are even more important. They provide your child with a sense of security, predictability, and calmness.
Routines that are important to keep in young children include a sleeping, feeding, playing, and a bathing pattern. With busy schedules, it is difficult to always keep the routine exactly the same each day, but trying to keep it within thirty minutes to one hour difference will help establish a happy child. Sleeping and feeding patterns help keep your child be well rested and not cranky. Babies and toddlers sleep an average of twelve to fifteen hours a day.
For elementary aged students, it is important to keep the sleeping pattern so children are up and ready to go in the morning. A good breakfast and balanced meals will keep them energized and alert. It is important for these students to have a homework routine whether it means getting home and starting homework right away or having a snack and then starting homework. Whatever works best for you and your child will work as long as you keep it consistent.
If you don’t have a routine already in place, here is a quick way to start.
1. Ensure that you have a set time to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Remember that you don’t always have to keep it at the exact times each day and the location can vary. If your child is at daycare or school, breakfast and lunch may already be taken care of. Therefore, getting the family together for dinner would be your only concern.
2. Sleeping is very important for your child’s brain development. Therefore, be sure that if your child is an infant or toddler, they get several naps in. Some toddlers only need one nap to rebuild some energy for the rest of the day. This may take some of your time away from being somewhere, but it will definitely help your child grow and be a happy child.
3. Playing is a must for all kids. This is when they are learning. This is an easy one to build in to your day. All your child needs is a few toys or plastic containers and he will be fine. Your child can play while you cook or even help you clean around the house. This can be considered play and learning time. You can find a time between naps to do this easily.
4. Keeping bath time at around the same time. Doing this each day will help your child know what may come next. If you do this at night, he will know that sleeping comes next. So, try to keep this one at a consistent time of day.
When you keep your child in a routine, they are able to build confidence in themselves as they don’t need to worry or stress about what event or activity comes next. They will focus on their learning as they have all that they need at a predictable time. If things need to be changed, it’s okay. This will also help your child learn that things don’t always have to be exactly the same. You can simply tell them that they need to do something different for a certain reason. If you try to keep a basic routine in place, you will reap the benefits of having a child that is not stressed or cranky but happy and perhaps more compliant instead!
About Ann Navarro
Ann has teaching experience working with elementary students in the areas of bilingual education, dual language, English as a Second Language, and Reading. Ann holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a Reading Specialist Concentration. She also has experience evaluating lesson plans for the Smithsonian Institution. In her spare time, Ann enjoys spending time with her family outdoors and reading.