There are generally two kinds of parents – those who “wing it” and those who are particular about every particular thing. The particular parents tend to care about structure and are often strict about their child’s routines. The parents who “wing it” tend to respond to all their child’s demands in the moment and are flexible with routines.
While there is room for parents to be flexible about establishing boundaries and guidelines for their toddlers, routines help toddlers feel comfortable and secure in knowing there is certainty and predictability in their lives. As toddlers grow and develop, they need a strong sense of safety. Routines help toddlers learn how to interact with the world by doing the same things over and over again. The bottom line is that patterns help toddlers learn.
When there is routine and structure in the home, toddlers tend to be more calm and relaxed. Changes to schedules and routines can be particularly stressful for young children. It is not uncommon for a child who is used to mommy putting him to sleep every night to throw a fuss when the new babysitter tries to do the same thing. Changes in routine make toddlers uncertain and scared because they notice when something is different.
The good thing is that toddlers adjust quickly to changes in routine. While little Jonny may cry every time he is dropped off at daycare for the first few days, once the childcare facility becomes a regular part of his routine, he will be happy to leave mommy’s arms and join the other toddlers playing with blocks on the carpet. The sights, smells and presence of familiar objects and people make toddlers feel safe and comfortable.
Parents who are intentional about keeping their child on a routine usually have an easier time with day-to-day tasks like bedtime, bath-time and meals. Children respond well to external cues. For example, when the lights are turned off and the sound machine gets turned on, a toddler recognizes that it is time to sleep. Other triggers, like a warm bath, a bedtime story, or brushing teeth can also help a child prepare for bedtime. Routines help children know what to expect so they are not surprised by the next activity.
Every family unit operates a little differently so one family’s routine may look different from another’s and that’s okay! Getting ready in the morning, dropping your child off at childcare or preschool, and getting your child ready for bed are all parts of your child’s day that can contribute to the day’s structure.
Routines are meant to make life easier and strengthen the relationship between parents and children. Structured routines help children establish good habits, understand time management and learn organization. When a family’s structure and routine are supplemented by the rhythms and structure of a preschool or childcare, children are bound to be better adjusted, organized and secure in their identity.
Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies in Atlanta, GA help toddlers feel safe and secure by providing healthy routines, a structured learning environment and lots of hugs and giggles. Find a Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy near you to learn more.
About Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies®
Headquartered in the North Atlanta suburb of Duluth, GA, Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies® provide secure, nurturing, and educational environment for children ages 6 weeks – 12 years. We help children to bloom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. With over 160 locations in 15 states, Kids ‘R’ Kids International® is a family owned and operated organization that ranks in the top 10 nationwide for franchised early childhood education centers. Find a location near you.