Routines - Build Confidence and Security in Your BabyAlison Wood |16, July 2013
After dinner, my kids immediately begin cleaning off their plates and placing them in the sink. No one has to utter a word. Everyone knows what comes next. Even my two toddlers hop down from their chairs, place their plates in the sink and head upstairs. They know what my plan's are for after dinner — bath time and jammies. How do my kids know, without me saying a word, that bath time and jammies come next? In one word — ROUTINE.
Some mothers may frown at this word, since it brings structure into a child's life. More moms are adopting the "hands-free" and "let children guide" style of parenting. They argue that this type of parenting offers the child more freedom and a chance to exercise creativity.
However, I have seen just the opposite happen around our home. My kids find comfort and security in a life filled with routine.
We have a daily routine that even the tiny ones follow. It goes something like this:
- Get Dressed
- Clean Bedrooms
- Breakfast and brush teeth
- Morning Chores
- Free time/Play time
Obviously, there are changes of plans at times, but that is infrequent. My husband and I try to keep the kids in a secure routine so they feel confident about their future.
Related: Creating Your Baby's Routine
Confident? Did I say confident?
Absolutely. When a parent sticks to a routine, a child or baby can be confident that they know what their future holds. They know that mommy will be there when they wake up from their naps. They know that there will be a hearty meal for dinner. And yes, they even know that their parents will be there to tuck them in and kiss them good night—every night.
How about you? Do you feel more confident of your future when you stick to a routine? If you miss your morning run or coffee, do you feel like you have already began your day from a disadvantage? If you do, then you can totally relate to a baby or child that lives without a constant routine in his life.
A parent's job involves equipping your little ones for the best future possible, right? Consider this: the average adult's life is full of routines. Most occupations require commitment to a number of predetermined working hours. If you mess up the routine too often, you may very well lose your job. How about routine dental check-ups or car maintenances? Machines, health and people work better on routines. Give your child a jump-start in preparation for real life, by beginning a routine today!
Routines also help parents divide their time between work and family. If you stick to a routine, you can schedule in special one-on-one time with your child daily, so you do not leave that important task undone.
I'm afraid I will not stick to my routine.
Have you ever cheated on a diet? Have you ever missed a workout session? Have you ever missed a yearly physical? Sure you have. Things come up or we simply have a less than diligent day. But what should you do? Just quit your diet and start shoveling donuts in your mouth at morph speed? No way! Your best bet is to get back on your routine with renewed commitment. The same mindset applies to routines at home. Many parents see improvements in their child and baby's overall demeanor when a routine is established.
I don't want my baby to feel stressed about following a schedule.
With each of my six kids I have used a routine. At first I did not want to schedule or do routine feedings and naps for my first child. However, he was cranky, fussy and became a discontent six month old. After listening to someone's advice, I decided to try a schedule and a routine. I wrote it down on a piece of paper to keep as a reminder about what was coming next on our day's activities.
My life immediately became less stressful! My son became more content and took his naps easily since his body grew accustomed to napping at certain times. After lunch, his eyelids would begin to flutter and I would not even have to look at the clock to know it was 1 pm--naptime.
Shopping trips, get-togethers, play-dates and other fun activities became a lot less stressful as I just scheduled them around my son's naps and feeding times.
If your life is stressful and a little chaotic, try starting a routine. The change may bring you a more pleasant outcome than you thought possible! Babyland and toddler days may actually become peaceful and fun.Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.
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