Children thrive in a well-ordered and predictable environment.
Routines offer children a sense of consistency and security; yet remain flexible and responsive to the individual needs of each child.
How do routines help?
Routines eliminate power struggles because you aren't consistently bossing your child around. They help children cooperate by reducing stress and anxiety for everyone. We all know what comes next and over time children will take charge of their own activities, which makes your child feel more independent.
Children learn the concept of "looking forward" to things they enjoy, which is an important part of making a happy compromise within the demands of a busy schedule.
Routines help build on those precious connection moments. It’s important to connect with our children every day, but when our focus is on moving them through the schedule to get to bed, we miss out on opportunities to make this connection, especially if you work full time. But if we build little connection rituals into our routine they become habit. Try a snuggle with each child when you first see them in the morning, or a sweet verse when you're saying goodnight:
"Goodnight sun, Goodnight moon, Goodnight whole city, Goodnight mummy”
Rituals like these slow you down and connect you on a deeper level with your child, and if you do them as just "part of the routine" they build security as well as connection and cooperation.
Routines also help parents maintain consistency in expectations. If everything is a battle, parents end up giving in to one more TV show or skipping a bath for tonight, etc. With a routine, parents are more likely to stick to healthy expectations for everyone in the family, “because that's just the way we do things in our household.”
The result: a family with healthy habits, where everything runs more smoothly!
How to establish a routine
The morning rush can be the most stressful time of the day but with a morning routine set, your mornings can be a whole lot calmer and will set the pace for a beautiful day ahead.
Once you have your Touch and Feel morning routine set, go through all of the steps with them talking about each step as you go along. This will help you recognise any glitches or perhaps the need to re-order some of the steps.
Encourage your child to take ownership of these tasks and try not to do everything for them. It might be quicker in the short term to put their socks on for them but you will just contribute to a power struggle.
When children don't get enough sleep, they have a harder time controlling their emotions. They may be irritable or hyper, which is no fun for anyone. Children who are always sleep-deprived are more likely to have learning and behaviour problems and have trouble paying attention
Regular bedtime routines play a big role in helping children get the right amount of sleep and function at their best. When you set and maintain good sleep habits, it helps your child fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake rested and refreshed. They can help take the stress out of bedtime, too.
The important thing is that you do the same thing every night so that your child learns to associate particular activities with bedtime.
If you're not at home, try to follow your routine as much as possible. The familiarity may make it easier for them to settle down in new surroundings.
It is equally important to keep bedtime calm and relaxing.
Using our Touch and Feel bedtime routine set will help your child associate bedtime with good feelings and give them a sense of security and control.
There is no single routine that's right for everyone, but in general yours should include all the things that your child needs to do before going to sleep, including brushing teeth, having a bath, putting on PJs, and having a drink of warm milk or water.
Your child may want to read a book with you, talk about the day, or look and quietly sing to a touch and feel lullaby board. Whatever you choose to do, keep the routine short (30 minutes or less, not including a bath) and be firm about ending it when it's time to sleep.
The Sensory Child can custom make your routine sets to what suits you and your child. Contact us for more information.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thesensorychild.com
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