Why Routines for Kids are Important
Predictability is something young children need in their lives. Uncertainty and change is naturally stressful for all human beings. Children are confronted with change daily. Although it is a growth opportunity, it can also be stressful for children. Changes are handled best in environments with familiar routines and if children know what is expected. A daily routine adapted to children’s interests and/or needs is very important because it allows them to feel safe. A sense of mastery in handling their lives is developed, allowing children to adapt to changes in their environments. Young children do not yet fully understand the concept of time, so they order their lives by events that happen, not by hours and minutes. One of the most important things that you can do to make your young child feel safe is to establish as much routine as possible. Children have a better understanding of their world when events happen in the same order every day, which is when they feel the most secure. Routines are emotional regulators that decrease conflict, stress, and anxiety. Children emotionally prepare for changes that are to come when routines are in place. A child with a set routine will progress through it, while also knowing what is expected of him/her when the task is complete. Through routines, children learn social skills (e.g., turn taking), self-control (e.g., waiting), and positive behavior. Routines help children understand concepts such as “before and after”. It is never too late to start a routine. When implementing routines it is important to keep in mind that adjustments may be needed. Know ahead of time that your child will have difficulty adjusting, and be prepared with how you will handle the resistance. Having consistency and limits is key. When you stick to a routine, you teach your child how to arrange his/her time in a manner that is efficient, productive, and cuts down on stress. The sense of order will allow your child to suppress an automatic sense of how to organize his/her own life as they grow up.
Routines at School:
At Pasadena Christian Preschool we understand the importance of routines and are aware of the positive effects it can have on our student’s emotional development. Our teachers promote a consistent routine day after day, giving our students the sense of security they need to take risks and make choices, which opens the door to exciting learning opportunities. All classrooms have similar daily schedules with different weekly curriculum that target children’s interests. In addition, our teachers make announcements during morning meetings about what to expect throughout the day, which helps incorporate learning with an organized connection. Our students are able to experience a sense of satisfaction and control at being able to perform all of part of the tasks connected with the routine.
Author: Irina Zepeda, CSULA Child Development Intern