There’s no hiding from the fact that for the most part we are creatures of habit. For a lot of us, especially if you have kids, the ritual of having our morning cup of coffee each day is our sanity’s saving grace. Routines, at home or in a dayhome in Red Deer, are just as important for your kids. So, read on to learn the ins and outs of creating a schedule that keeps everyone’s sanity under wraps which will help the days go a lot smoother.
- What Are the Most Important Parts of Your Day?
Start by looking at which parts of your day are most crucial to keep kids focused. These generally include mealtimes, play, snacks, sleep, quiet time, bathroom breaks, and preparing for bed. Build everything else around these and you’re off to a good start.
- Order is More Important Than Timing
Young children tend to focus more on the order of things, rather than what time they are happening at. So, when you do have to shake things up a bit, try cutting down on the time of each activity rather than rearranging everything completely, and you’ll see a lot less tears as a result.
- Offer Choices
Offering your child choices within a routine is important to give them a sense of control over their environment. You can give them small choices, like where they would like to sit at mealtime or which pajamas to wear to bed. This will also keep them more interested in an otherwise consistent schedule.
- Involve Them
Another way to keep things interesting is to involve your kids in even the most mundane tasks of the day. You may think loading the dishwasher is a bore, but to your child it will be a chance to show how helpful they are and to gain a sense of accomplishment. Things like having them help clean up after an activity or setting the table for mealtime will get them more involved in the steps of a routine.
- Give Ample Warning
Even as adults, people have a hard time with change. To a child, even small changes between activities can be tough if they aren’t given warning. For younger kids, give 1-3 minutes heads-up and more time for older kids who are beginning to understand the movement of time.
- Keep Some Consistency between Home and Childcare Schedules
A little bit of variance, depending on who they are with or where they are is okay, but try to work with your childcare provider to keep some sort of alignment between home and childcare schedules. Having completely different routines can be stressful for your child, both mentally and physically.
- Make it Visual
A chart that maps out your daily routines is a great way to reinforce consistency. Putting the chart at eye-level to your child and including lots of pictures will be both engaging and interesting, while also adding to early literacy skills for preschoolers if you set it up from left to right. Also, make sure to use the chart daily so it doesn’t get forgotten!
- Stay Flexible
Routines are crucial, but when it comes down to it, flexibility is just as important. When it comes to taking care of kids, things never go exactly as planned. So, when the inevitable hits, keep calm, stick to your routine the best you can, but don’t sweat it if things get a little out of whack.
Carefully considering your daily routine allows you to devote less energy to figuring out what to do next and more brain power towards the more daunting tasks at hand. With these tips in mind, it’s time to go out and conquer your day!