It’s that time of year again! Summer break is over, and it’s time to gear up for another program year. This most likely means a change in routine for both you and the families you serve. The time has come to begin planning, setting your alarm clock, packing lunches and establishing an early bed time. Changes in routine can sometimes be difficult, especially if the change is drastic.
As you know, children thrive and feel secure when there is an established routine. Adults usually function better too, feeling more comfortable in knowing how our day will be structured and knowing what to expect at certain times during the day.
Routines help parents incorporate order into everyday life, making everyday tasks run smoother. Likewise, routines provide consistency busy parents need to stay organized and help young children change from one task to another, both of which reduce stress. Some of the basic routines that can help parents of infants and toddlers include:
Children often outgrow or begin to challenge routines as they grow and develop. It is important for parents to be flexible and responsive to their child’s needs for change in routine in order to promote the child’s optimal development. Allowing this flexibility allows the child to practice emerging skills and can help relieve frustration for both the parents and the child.
So how can you help families establish healthy, functional routines for the new program year? Some strategies you can employ to support families in establishing routines include:
Creating and adapting routines for families with children entering school can sometimes be difficult, but remember, children thrive best when routines and schedules remain consistent. To support families whose children are transitioning to school, you can offer the following guidance:
While getting back into a routine after summer break can be difficult, it is a wonderful opportunity to create good habits. There are some things families can do to make the transition smoother. For example, families can implement new routines early, giving everyone time to adjust before the first day of school. Remember that establishing and maintaining a regular schedule for the family is a first and very important step for starting off a new school year on a positive note.