The advantages + practical suggestions!
Having routines has been proven to work wonders for young children, especially during those often difficult toddler years that are a crucial phase of their development. We’ve got reasons why most kids respond well to having certain routines, as well some examples of how you can get them working for you.
Why does my toddler need routines?
- Routines make her feel in control; the fact of knowing what will happen throughout the day gives your child (and you!) a sense of comfort and security.
- Routines give your child something to look forward to—especially if what comes next is something she likes!
- Routines make transitioning between activities easier. If your child knows that tooth-brushing time comes right after story time, it will likely be less of a struggle to get her into the bathroom with her toothbrush in-hand.
- Plus, having set routines also means that mom has a lot less planning to do, meaning more free time… and peace of mind.
- Morning and/or bedtime routines.
These are the most basic ones: they can include a big hug first thing in the morning, or as the last step before being tucked into bed. Why not add a favourite song or greeting to make the ritual more special? As your child learns to recognize numbers on the clock, she’ll know that either the morning or bedtime routine is coming up.
- Leaving routines.
Leaving from somewhere fun (a friend’s house, school, the toy store) or even leaving the house to go somewhere can be difficult for a child, so having a routine to do right before she goes can help make the transition smoother. For example, you could have a special “goodbye” dance, handshake, or song you both do. This may help your little one be better mentally-prepared to leave.
- Eating routines.
Having mealtime rituals can help your child learn to associate eating to sitting calmly at the table without constantly getting up to play. It could be having a set menu, knowing that there’s a special treat for dessert, or something simple like listening to music during the meal.
- Clean-up routines.
Learning how to clean up is important, but it’s not always fun. Make it a little bit more exciting by making up a song, or choosing special “clean-up music” to play while your child tidies up the playroom. Over time, your child should be less reluctant to do an activity that doesn’t seem so fun at first.