The Importance of Schedule and Routine for Toddlers and Preschoolers
When your children begin preschool, they will be introduced to a schedule and routine. They will have circle time, snack time, story time, etc. Since younger children do not yet understand the concept of time in a sense of hours and minutes as we do, they rely on events happening at the same time to give them an understanding of their day.
Routines establish boundaries and guidelines and they help little ones feel secure in their surroundings. When children have an understanding of their daily events, they can easily predict what is coming next and it gives them a sense of assurance and independence.
This is the perfect time for you to set up your own schedule for them at home as well.
Create a sheet with the daily schedule to hang in their room with pictures or words (depending on their age) showing them what is coming up next. This can also help prevent tantrums. If your children know ahead of time that every day after dinner, they have bath time, they are less likely to get upset or throw a fit.
Having a set routine also helps your children establish good habits as they grow. For example: When your children know that as soon as they get up in the morning, they have to wash their faces and brush their teeth and in the evening before going to sleep, they have to take a bath, it instills a lesson of personal hygiene in them from the very start.
Picking out their clothes for the next day before going to sleep, helps reduce their (and your) stress in the morning and establishes a much smoother and calmer environment before leaving for school. Let them help you pick out their outfit by giving them a limited choice. This will help them feel in control. When children begin their day on the right foot, it will help them concentrate and be better behaved in school. They will be more focused on what’s to come as opposed to focusing on what happened in the morning.
Nighttime routines are the most important for little ones. Having a set routine before going to bed helps them go to sleep relaxed. It establishes good sleep habits which, in turn, help your children fall asleep and stay asleep. They wake up refreshed, rested and ready to take on the new day!
As important as schedules and routines are, you should always prepare your children to understand that while their routine stays the same for the most part, there may be cases when it might need to change a bit. If you know ahead of time that your children’s schedule will be a little off, speak to them in advance to prepare them. You’d be surprised at what little ones can handle with a little “heads up”.