The world is a big, new, ever-changing place for children. Starting from birth, babies’ brains grow rapidly as they take in new information about the world. All that newness and change can be frightening. As young babies, toddlers, children and even teens grown and learn about the world, they crave structure, security and consistency at home. If at least a few things stay stable, it’s much easier to explore the world with confidence. That’s why establishing a regular routine is so important for children.
Here are just a few of the specific benefits that a consistent routine offers your children:
Routines Help Children Sleep
Studies show that a consistent night-time routine can help infants and toddlers get better quality sleep within three nights. The suggested night-time routine consists of bathing and brushing teeth, reading a bedtime story or other quiet activities, and gentle massage and cuddling. This routine helps children fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, which also helps the parents get their rest.
Routines Give Children Consistency and Certainty
In order to become curious, brave, and sure about their place in the world, children need to know that world is predictable safe, warm, and loving. Routines help give children that confidence. Every moment doesn’t need to be scripted, but try to make sleep and wake rituals, mealtimes, and family time consistent from day to day.
Routines Help Keep Children Healthy
In childhood, children learn the nutrition and hygiene habits that they will take with them through life. Establishing a good routine of consistent mealtimes, daily physical movement, regular bathing, and good oral care helps give them the skills they need to stay healthy throughout their life.
Routines Help Parents Stay Calm and Relaxed
Parenting is hard work, there’s no doubt about it. Establishing clear routines with your children helps take stress off of you, benefiting your kids in turn. The benefits for parents include:
* Less negotiating – Constantly negotiating with a toddler about snacks, bedtime, chores, and tv time is tiring. If you schedule a daily routine and stick to it, you don’t have to keep negotiating each day.
* Better behavior – Kids mirror the world around them. When their world is unpredictable and chaotic, their behavior follows suit. On the other hand, a consistent routine helps improve children’s behavior. While you may get a few days of pushback when you institute a new routine, stay firm and your kids will get used to the new schedule.
* Happier kids – When you set a routine that gives your child the consistency and regularity that they crave, they are able to relax and thrive. What parent doesn’t want to see that?
Setting a regular routine for your child benefits both you and them. If you have specific questions about what your child’s routine should include, speak to your pediatrician for age-appropriate advice.