THE SCIENCE BEHIND
Children, especially younger ones, and those who have special behavioral needs (such as ADHD, for example) need a clear and precise routine in their daily lives. Of course, there may be some exceptions, such as a special event or during the holidays, but all parents and specialists agree on one point: a child who knows "where he is going" and who can predict his daily activities, feels better overall.
What does the routine bring?
The presence of routine in daily life brings many benefits to children. Here are some of the most frequently cited by educators, psychologists and parents:
• It creates a sense of trust and security in children. They are reassured by knowing what will happen "after".
• It helps young children develop their autonomy: if they know exactly what to do in different situations (e.g. sleep time), they are more likely to do so on their own.
• It allows young children to find their way in time: children know that bath time comes after dinner, then the pajamas, then teeth brushing, then the story, then ... Whatever routine you adopt, it helps the youngster know what to do according to the hours of the day.
• It allows them to create habits for the future: for example, brushing teeth after lunch and dinner, putting away one toy before taking out another, etc. These are small gestures that seem unimportant but will have a real influence on the future life of your children (and on their dentist bill!).
• It allows parents to be less authoritarian and not to use the reward / punishment method systematically: a child who is accustomed to a routine is not reluctant to perform the tasks requested.
• They create a sense of anticipation: you should not include only "required" things to the daily routine of children, but also fun activities. If the kids know you're reading a story, hug them or tickle them after a series of activities, they'll be eager to finish and enjoy this intimate moment.
Routines for what?
All activities that are repeated daily can be organized into a specific routine. This includes:
• Waking and sleeping: toilet, body care, dressing and undressing, putting on pajamas, etc.
• Meals: sit down when they are called, get up when you give them the right, put their bowl / plate in the sink, and so on.
• Times for nap.
• Play time: You should not regulate play periods in a strict way, because it is at this point that kids let go and develop their creativity and social skills, but it is a good idea for each game period to end with a session of cleaning up. Your family routine may include a song that children particularly like. Thus, they will know that when this song is played, they can get up and dance ... by arranging the blocks!
• House chores, when the children are older.
The Benefits of a Visual Routine
For many children, images are much more effective than words. If they have a table or a specific system that shows them what to do and when to do it in a playful and fun way, they are more likely to lend themselves to play and stay in a good mood.
Benefits of routines for children - San Francisco Stepping Stones Pre-School Director
Benefits of Octopus Watch - Applied Behavior Analyst Technology Specialist