Routines make toddlers feel safe

Doing the same thing over and over may be boring to adults, but to toddlers, predictable routines are very satisfying.

Doing the same thing over and over may be boring to adults, but to toddlers, predictable routines are very satisfying.

A toddler loves new toys and places to explore, but after a while too many changes may make him unravel. Stimulation is exciting; familiarity is cozy and comforting. In a day filled with new things, routines provide the tiny adventurer with a little dose of predictability to give him a chance to catch his breath.

Routines boost your child’s feeling of understanding and belonging. A toddler often feels surrounded by things beyond his control and words that it seems that only he doesn’t understand.

No wonder often he feels frustrated and left out. When adults visit a country where we don’t speak the same language or have different customs, we can feel a bit stressed.

Routines are easy to understand because they are very familiar. They give your child a chance to know what’s going on and what’s coming up.

Scheduled regular activities help your toddler tell time. Imagine working in an office that didn’t have clocks or windows. It would be disorienting. Routines help your toddler keep track of time and bring predictability to daily chaos.

“After I wake up, I get dressed and eat breakfast. After lunch, I take a nap,” and so on. They are like your toddler’s wristwatch.

By his first birthday, your toddler will be expert in figuring out the patterns of the day. For example he gets a new diaper when he wakes up, has a bath before bedtime, and so on.

A consistent pattern helps him feel secure enough to leave the safety of your lap and explore the world. Routines are valuable for young toddlers because they are in a sea of constant change. When you’re one year old, life is full of new sights, sounds, and sensations. Familiar routines help him to regroup and prepare for the next round of excitement.

Even routines that don’t involve sleep such as lunch around noon every day and reading stories after a bath are like little needed rest stops in a busy day. Without the calming effect of regular routines, new experiences often wind up being stressful and overwhelming.

While routines are helpful for one-year-olds, they’re a huge bonus for two-year-olds. They provide benefits of security, relaxation, and marking time. Two-year-olds tend to like everything “just so.” After working hard to figure something out, they don’t want it to change so they can start focusing their attention on something else.

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