We have lots to say about the importance of what we do...
Daily routines are events (like mealtime, nap time, bath-time, and bedtime) that happen at about the same time and in the same way each day. There is a major difference between a ‘routine’ and a ‘schedule,’ as the word ‘schedule’ seems to have a clear expectation of time associated with it
. Routines do not focus strictly on times of day where things are happening, but more on the rhythm of flow of their day. For example, after your daughter wakes from her afternoon nap, you sing the same silly ‘wake up song’ while you change her diaper. Then it’s a snack in the highchair and few minutes of playtime with the dog before she climbs into her stroller to go pick up her brother from school. What happens to your daughter if one day you skip the diaper and snack routine because you are running late and she is plucked from her crib and directly thrown in the carseat for a run to the grocery store? Some children, based on their temperament, go with the flow of their day, but most children have a challenging time with changes to routines that they become so accustomed to.
But why exactly are these strict routines so important for young children? Why don’t they like change? Why do I need to read the same book night after night or have the sing the same clean-up song 6 times a day?
This is not to say that children cannot ever tolerate change or that you are stuck singing only Wheels on the Bus every day – changes can be made gradually over time and with some practice (like how a new drop-off routine at childcare once Daddy’s work schedule changes can take a few days or weeks). And if you are consistent, predictable and trustworthy in your creation of routines for your child, then you can add new aspects to the routine without conflict because your child has learned to trust you implicitly. So go ahead and sing a few new songs at home today, but remember that you are also going to need to bring out the Wheels on the Bus so your little guy isn’t completely thrown off!
Kim Bennett, MSed CEIS