Whether you consider yourself a free-spirit or a highly organized individual, there’s no doubt that there are some routines you’ve put in place to help things run smoothly and efficiently in your life. From health routines to cleaning routines, regular and consistent steps help to bring about good results. Just like adults, children require routines to help them get through their day, too. But more than that, children actually thrive with routines because routines help them to learn, build confidence, and give them the feeling of security vital to experiencing a stable childhood.
- Routines help children to feel in control of their environment. Children are learning new things and having new experiences all the time. While this is often a fun and exciting time, it can become overwhelming, as well. Knowing where things are and what comes next helps them to feel like they are in control.
- Routines help children feel safe, secure, and comfortable. Likewise, when a child knows what to expect and when to expect it, they can relax. Anxieties about if or when things will happen can melt away. They can feel confident that dinner is coming, that Mommy will be home, or that their favorite teddy bear is always in the toy box whenever they need a pal.
- Routines help children learn. When we do things over and over, we commit them to memory and perfect our methods. Whether it’s brushing the knots out of their hair after bathtime or becoming more and more familiar with sight words during their bedtime reading routine, the power of practice can’t be denied. Watch how independent your child becomes with the proper practices in place.
- Routines build confidence. Children just love it when they know things! In their world of constant learning and discovery, they’re often in a position where they don’t know what to do. When they do have knowledge of something, it really makes them feel good. Just think of how your child beams with pride when they show you their cubby at school, or how they put all the books back on the shelf all by themselves!
- Routines create good habits. Instilling a daily cleaning routine, even if it’s just picking up all the toys off of the floor before bed, creates the habit of maintaining a clean environment. Beginning this early will ensure that your child accepts cleanliness as a fact of life. The same goes for grooming, or spending time with the family. When you start them off on the right foot and are consistent with those expectations, your child will create good habits that they’ll carry with them for a lifetime.
There’s no need to bombard your child with rules and schedules at every turn. You can still be an easygoing parent with a few intentional routines in place. Determine what your family values and what will make the day go smoothly and set up some easy systems. Keep it simple, but consistent. Notice how much easier your own day is when your child is flourishing with the security, comfort, and confidence their daily routines provide.