Having a routine for children doesn’t just benefit them, but the whole family. There are many people without children who just can’t understand the reason for a routine, some also have children. ‘We won’t bother’ some people have said, or even asked why we bother. I live in the hope that their children will help them realise, why. Although I hear of them, I’m yet to meet a parent who is against routines, but that’s clearly what works for them. For the rest of us parents, routine is something that we structure our day around.
Some believe routines are ridiculous and interrupts too much of your daily life, ‘it’s much easier to go with the flow’. Having children in general disrupts your life it’s what you sign up for. There’s nothing like being in a shop when your toddler declares ”he needs a poo IT’S COMING OUT”. Unfortunately routine can’t odds that.
Having a routine as a guideline helps you gage when your children will become hungry or when they’ll need a nap, this also helps know when is a good time to put them to bed in the evening. I enjoy the comfort of knowing, come 7pm, the kids are in bed and I will be diving in to a bag of Maltesers while watching I’m a Celebrity, (all providing the little buggers actually go to sleep).
You can predict that around lunchtime, any whingeing will be down to hunger and early afternoon will be because they’re tired, if you have a toddler. Babies work on a regular hourly routine, from experience, they thrive in this. Eat, sleep, rave, repeat. Here’s are examples of a babys’ routine and a toddlers’ routine. These routines weren’t set in stone, we still had outings and on occasions we threw caution to the wind and just went with the flow. But having routines gave us, and still does give us, all a much needed structure to the day, a guideline of when lunch and dinner needs to be prepared, planning car journeys or days out so the children can get in a nap. Hell hath no fury, like an overtired child.
That said, being able to predict your toddlers routine and knowing what they need, when they need it, means when you do go shopping and your toddler decides to have a meltdown, once someone says ”he must be tired”, you’ll know, and you’ll confidently reply ”no, he’s just being an asshole”. Because you wouldn’t have gone shopping if it coincided with nap or meal times.
Although children don’t clockwatch and think ”ah, it’s half past 12, lunch shortly”, they understand and recognise cues to what is happening. Such as dinner leads to tidy up time, stories, bathtime, milk and then bed. Unless one is ill or teething, this routine helps them predict what’s to come and be at peace with it, instead of just being put to bed at any time, causing tears and tantrums, from all involved. I strongly believe this gives them a sense of security.
Routines need to be adapted regularly in their first year because of their growing and changing needs, having a routine established early on helps you alter it slightly as each month passes. When our daughter had been sleeping through from very early on, I completely messed it up by adjusting her routine so drastically and suddenly at 4 months. I won’t admit it was my fault to Mr Firstooth, since she’s never slept well since, but if I had eased her into a little more awake time day by day, our nights now could be much different to our nightly stomp to and from her room.
There are so many different types of routine to follow as a guideline, but generally you will get to know your child and you’ll end up forming your own routine that works well for your family. We did follow routines from books and online, some worked, some didn’t. Once you are in a routine, it’s like gold (especially naptime).
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