I was the type of parent who was winging it everyday. My day with the kids didn’t really have any structure or routine. I would have an idea of what I needed and wanted to get done, but no real plan was ever set in place. To put it lightly, a lot of days turned out to be quite hectic.
I can tell you from experience continuing that type of parenting can only lead to chaotic days. Days filled with chaos will only increase stress and anxiety levels for you and your little ones.
If you are like I was I have good news for you! It doesn’t have to stay that way. When I became serious and more intentional about starting my children’s early childhood education journey I knew our days had to have more structure and organization.
The best way to achieve these is to use routines. I started out by introducing morning and evening routines. Then gradually worked our way up to daily routines. I cannot begin to express how beneficial these routines have been for our family.
When preparing your toddler for their early childhood education journey establishing routines will be one of the greatest things you can do for them and for you.
Routines have several benefits for toddlers as well as parents. Here are seven important benefits of routines for toddlers.
7 Important Benefits of Routines for Toddlers
1. Healthy Habits
The first benefit of routines for toddlers is building healthy habits. Routines allow toddlers to practice different skills daily. Once a toddler becomes accustomed to these skills as apart of their routine, they become a habit.
Toddlers will know they need to brush their teeth in the morning and at night, for example. Another example could be meal time and snack time as apart of a routine. This will teach your toddler that we eat a variety of healthy foods and snacks and that a sweet treat is only for a dessert and/or a reward.
Think of some healthy habits you would love for your toddler to start now and then continue with as they grow older. Incorporate them into your routines and watch the healthy habits develop!
2. Time Management
The second benefit of routines for toddlers is time management. Time management is a lifelong skill that we will ALL need for our entire lives. So, why not start teaching this skill to our toddlers early on?
With routines you demonstrate to your toddler how much time is spent completing particular activities/ skills. By doing this you are teaching them that while it is important to do things well, we should be mindful of how long we spend so that we are able to get what we need done in a timely manner.
A great way to accomplish this is to set a timer. I remember when I started using a timer for my four year old. He loves to take his time doing things to make sure they are done well. This is great, but not when it comes to time management.
When I started using a timer, he began to realize that he could still take his time to do things well, but was now aware that he also needed to pay attention to how much time he was spending on a particular skill/activity.
How many times has your kiddo asked you for just 5 more minutes with that game or toy? Once the timer goes off they now know it is time for the next item on the routine.
According to a study done at the University of Albany psychologist Jennifer Weil Malatras, “found that individuals who grow up with predictable, daily routines are less likely to have time management or attention problems as adults.”
The third benefit of routines for toddlers is setting boundaries. By using daily routines toddlers begin to realize what they can do and when.
Toddlers will begin to take notice of the order of the day. By setting boundaries you are also avoiding many of the power struggles that can come between parents and toddlers.
As your toddler becomes more familiar with the routine they will know when it’s time to start and stop playtime, reading time or naptime etc. This leads me to the next benefit of routines for toddlers which is expectations.
The next benefit on our list is setting expectations. By using routines daily, toddlers will know what to expect throughout the day. Routines serve as a guide to toddlers. This guide shows them what is expected of them as well as what they can expect.
Will everyday go strictly by what’s on your routine schedule? Of course not! Things happen and plans change. When this does happen, it’s an added benefit because it helps toddlers adapt to change.
By setting expectations you are also gifting your toddler with a sense of security. This leads right to my next benefit of routines for toddlers which is security.
When toddlers are learning boundaries and expectations we are also giving them a greater sense of security. When there is structure, order and set expectations and boundaries toddlers are left with little to question.
What should I do now, who is going to be home when I get back, what am I eating for dinner? All of these questions run through the minds of our little ones.
With set routines, we take away the need for them to have the answers to these questions because they already know as a result of the routines that are set in place!
As toddlers grow more and more aware of their daily routines and begin to build habits, they will also learn that they have responsibilities.
They will know it is their responsibility to make sure they brush their teeth or keep their room clean. Tidy up time is a wonderful part of the routine because it teaches toddlers that when they make a mess they should pick up after themselves.
Giving toddlers responsibilities and even small chores adds a bonus benefit of also showing them that the family works together. By giving them their “part” to do you show them that they are apart of the team!
7. Confidence and Independence
The last benefits of routines for toddlers on this list is confidence and independence. As toddlers grow more aware of the expectations and boundaries set as well as develop healthy habits you will notice them growing more confident.
As their confidence grows they will also grow more independent. They will have the confidence to do things on their own and because routines are set in place there will be a clear understanding of what is expected of them and when.
In conclusion, routines have many many long lasting benefits for toddlers. Routines help set the stage for early childhood education. They also make expectations and boundaries clear.
Additional benefits include giving toddlers a sense of security, helping them develop time management skills, responsibility and even building confidence and independence.
Are you currently using routines? If so, how is it going? If not, would you like to start? Let me know in the comments! It is my hope to help you along this journey!