Some parents seem to have a magic touch when it comes to helping children stay calm, happy, and cooperative. For many with this talent, the secret is their use of routines and rituals. We know that routines are important to the very youngest. Your newborn baby came into the world with natural sleeping, eating, and alert patterns. At first, you follow your newborn’s lead, and then—over the ensuing months—you guide the creation of routines dependent on your parenting choices and style. The structure and predictability of these routines are essential elements in providing your baby a sense of security and comfort.
Toddlerhood is an emotionally turbulent time, full of temper tantrums, irrational fears, and fierce independence, coupled with hugs, clinging behaviours, and boastful “Me do it!” statements. The routines and rituals you establish can be crucial during this time. At a time full of change, growth, joy, and frustration, your daily routines can be a calming oasis for your child, and act like a secure base to venture forth successfully and then return.
Your preschooler thrives and grows in an environment that includes repetition, routines, and rituals. These events provide great opportunities for your preschool-aged child to try out more complex social interactions and positive behaviour patterns. If playing simple board or card games is a family ritual at your house or a familiar part of her preschool activities, your child is learning many social interactive skills such as turn-taking, helping others, sharing, waiting, and following rules.
It makes sense that family life could be chaotic without some routine. But research has shown that there is more to it than that. Routines let your children know what is important to your family. When they are highly meaningful, routines are sometimes referred to as rituals and these play an important role in strengthening shared beliefs and values, and building a sense of belonging and cohesion in families.
(This exerpt is from the Kindermusik Parents Club eNewsletter.)