The importance of R O U T I N E
Children may display behavioural and emotional changes due to the extended lockdown period in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Toddlers and preschool children especially, may not feel safe because they are in a new and uncertain routine.
During this time, children can unconsciously show some regression in their behaviour as a coping mechanism and can return to a developmental stage where they feel safe.
When a child has a predictable daily routine it reminds them that they are in a secure, loving environment.
When your child knows what is expected of them, it will help reduce their anxiety. Consistent routines will help your child and their body clocks with many day to say basics such as:
– the ability to take naps and sleep well at night
– the ability to eat healthy, full meals
– regular bowel movements
– healthy play and outdoor time
– calm, relaxed behaviour during down times
Routines establish CONSTRUCTIVE habits and helps you as the parent to remember things. It can be difficult to adapt to routine during these times as we are living in unchartered territory. Here are some tips below to help you and your little one adapt to routines.
1. Explain new CHANGES in advance. When a change is something that can be anticipated, helping your child express their feelings about it before hand can make them less apprehensive.
2. Be GRADUAL in your approach, for instance, before putting your child in pre-school, introduce your child to playgroups so it teaches the child about structure, so when they start school, it isn’t a culture shock.
3. Keep a ROUTINE even during school breaks.
4. CONSISTENCY is key.
5. Remember that while routines are important, it is also important to remain FLEXIBLE and to leave room for free, unscheduled time. This will help your child learn how to deal with changes and unpredictability. This will also prevent a family routine from becoming a source of stress.