Have you ever said, “My baby is crabby because we were too busy for nap time”? Or witnessed a hungry toddler throw a temper tantrum in the grocery store? Or have you said “My toddler has requested this book so many times that I can read it in my sleep!”
Infants and toddlers benefit from the nurturing and responsive relationships which they experience through consistent daily routines and repetition. Morning routines, transitions before and after child care, meal and snack times, chore time, indoor and outdoor play, and consistency at bedtime create environments for healthy growth and development. Meal time and bed time are two ways to add consistency to your child’s day:
Strive to eat together in your home as a family at least one meal a day. Children who eat meals at home eat healthier and more economically and experience positive conversation. Family meals foster physical, cognitive, emotional and social well-being for your infant and toddler and benefit your entire family.
Infants and toddlers feel more comfortable at bedtime when they experience routines in the same order and at the same time each night. This may include a warm bath, brushing teeth, changing into pajamas, cuddling with a special toy during story time or singing a special lullaby together. Quiet music and conversation may also be soothing. Limiting sugar, caffeine and television also creates a calmer bedtime.
Children thrive best when they are able to count on loving parents and caregivers to provide positive consistent schedules and routines. Consistency also minimizes power struggles between parents and children.
Is it realistic to have a consistent routine 100% of the time? Absolutely not. The unexpected happens and daily schedules get turned upside down. Major life changes such as military deployments, family illness, and custody issues also interfere with routines.
Try your best to prepare your child for school success by planning a consistent routine based on their individual needs.
Nancy Frecks, Extension Educator | The Learning Child
This article was originally published by Frecks as a PDF for Nebraska Extension. We have republished it here with her permission.
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