Do your children have any regular routines? Regular routines provide children with feelings of security, emotional stability, and control, freeing them to concentrate on everyday tasks like playing, learning and eating. If they feel out of control, it reflects in their behaviour. You’ve probably witnessed firsthand how even a small disruption to your child’s daily schedule can negatively impact their mood. It’s important to realize that regular and streamlined routines that are easy for children to follow are a good way to keep them happy, confident and calm – as well as facilitate learning.
What Are Routines?
For your child, a routine can be as simple as saying “pardon me” after someone’s sneeze or putting on their seatbelt when they enter a car. It’s an opportunity for them to learn vital social skills like sharing, patience and saying please and thank you. It can also facilitate learning, echoing lessons being taught at school such as counting, sequencing and more.
Children following a routine develop the confidence to perform a sequence of events in the correct order. Doing this gives them a sense of pride and satisfaction in performing a set of tasks without making a mistake or needing assistance from an adult. An example of this would be taking a pair of socks out of the drawer, putting the socks on, followed by a pair of shoes and then tying the laces when they’re finished.
Routines also provide a wonderful context for learning how their day is meant to run successfully without mishaps, as well as a sense of continuity and timekeeping. For example, after dinner is time to have a bath. Right after the bath, they know to brush their teeth, because immediately afterward it’s time to go to bed. This would be a regular evening routine, ensuring that they learn the importance of hygiene, timekeeping and getting a good night of rest.
It may seem like micromanaging, but instilling routines in your child’s life can improve their learning. For example, putting socks and shoes on requires four steps that can be counted, as well as understanding that putting shoes on and tying their laces are two steps in a process which cannot occur without each other, making them related.
If you haven’t established a routine for you children as yet, there’s no better time to start then today.