Pin ItFor most of us, our lives involve a series of patterns—routines we perform almost every day, like stopping at the same place each day for coffee on the way to work. This is also very true for babies and toddlers. While we play a part in creating routines in our children’s lives, we may not fully realize the role they play in young children’s development.
Routines help babies and toddlers learn self-control.
Consistent routines, activities that happen at about the same time and in about the same way each day, provide comfort and a sense of safety to young children. Whether it is time to play, time for a snack, a nap, or a loved one to return, knowing what will happen next gives babies and toddlers security and emotional stability. It helps them learn to trust that caring adults will provide what they need. When children feel this sense of trust and safety, they are free to do their “work,” which is to play, explore, and learn.
Routines can bring you and your child closer together and reduce power struggles.
Stable routines allow babies and toddlers to anticipate what will happen next. This gives young children confidence, and also a sense of control, such as when parents say: “It is bedtime. Would you like to brush teeth now or after we get your pajamas on?” Routines can also limit the amount of “no’s” and behavior corrections you need to give a toddler throughout the day, since your child can better predict what should happen next: “I know you want a cracker. But it is clean-up time now. Remember, after clean-up, it is snack-time.”
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