Routines are more crucial to a child's development than one realizes. We utilize routines every day to balance work and leisure. Without it, we feel stressed. When we give too much to our kids or too much at work, we feel unbalanced. This is why structure and routine are important in our lives, at all stages!
Routines help infants build a bond with their caretakers. Infants at first are very reliant on their caretaker for everything from feeding, soothing, grooming, etc. As the infant grows, both caretaker and infant become used to a routine when they feed, need a diaper change, nap, etc. As the infant grows into a young child, they begin to interact with their environment as well as the people in their environment. They are learning social cues and appropriate reactions. As they become more confident they begin to become more independent. They learn how to entertain themselves self soothe and interact with their peers.
Routines not only give children a sense of security and stability. Routines help children feel safe in their environment. When a child understands what is expected, they are able to predict what will happen.
Routines also make them feel less anxious allowing them to relax and focus on the task at hand. When children know that it is time to do an arts and crafts project, they can prepare themselves (if they have sensory concerns). This is a great time to work on new textures or fine motor skills. During your morning routine of established arts and crafts, you can pick out what project you would like to work on with your child. Each day you can change your craft. This will teach flexibility through the routine. One day you can work on coloring, one day you can work on paint, one day you can make slime, and one day you can glue pom poms.
Routines offer stability during times of change or stress. When a family has established a routine, even if there is a major life stressor, a routine helps the child cope.
Routines are important to help establish mental and physical health for you and your child. Through routine, you are able to provide a safe and secure home and maintain a well-balanced lifestyle.