The Importance of Maintaining Routine
Routines are such an important part of a child's development! If you have experienced a big life change (e.g. moving homes, welcoming a new child into the family, a loss of some kind, etc.) or a small one (e.g. breaks from school, missed nap time, etc.) you understand that these changes can be difficult for children to process.
Children benefit from routines in several different ways, because routines help to provide a sense of stability and understanding of their environment, among other things!
- Establish expectations
- Decrease stress & anxiety
- Promote independence
- Establish healthy habits
- Offer stability
However, as good as this sounds, it will take time for a new routine to become the new normal.
Keep it simple. Keep it consistent.
If your child is a visual learner, try translating your routine into a visual schedule. This provides a visual place for the child to reference, eliminate finished items (e.g. check marks, peel off Velcro, add stickers, etc.), add/change activities (within reason), and see what is coming next. There are many visual schedule templates available for free online that include a variety of different features (e.g. time of day, pictures of activities, days of the week, etc.).
Lastly, always remember to be flexible. Adjustments happen every day and modeling appropriate ways to process them is important for children to learn too!
Some activities you may include in your daily routine:
- Meal times & snacks
- Nap time & bedtime
- Bath time
- Screen time
- Visiting family/friends (in-person or virtually)
- Indoor play (e.g. games, toys, movie, etc.)
- Outdoor play (e.g. games, gross motor movement, scavenger hunt, walk the dog, etc.)
-Stacia Working M.S. CF-SLP