SCHEDULES & ROUTINES
Children need organization and routines to feel safe. Children have no internal sense of order, So the child's environment and schedule must provide the needed external structure.
So many things are so new and unpredictable for children. If they have a few things they can count on, they will feel more secure. If they are not always trying to cope with a changing schedule or landscape, they can spend more of their energy learning small things without just managing to survive in what feels like chaos to them. Eventually, they will absorb the external structure.
Suggestions for Home
Think what it would be like if you could never predict when you are going to be told to take a shower or when you are going to bed, etc.
Have your child on a schedule.
The National Association of Educators of Young Children (NAEYC) classrooms require a schedule be posted in the classroom with a picture/word for each part of the day and show the children what might be different on any given day. You can do the same thing at home. You and your child can create a picture schedule of his day that you can go over each morning. This can do WONDERS for children.
Also, have a bed time routine: sing songs, cuddle, whatever, but make it the same every night. This will signal to your child's body that it is time to shift into sleep.
Having predictable patterns helps a child feel safe. If they have routines, they are more likely to explore new toys and different experiences in their environment because they know they can retreat to safety when they need to.
If the Schedule or Circumstances are Going to be Different
If the schedule is going to change, be sure and tell your child beforehand. For example, "normally we go home when I pick you up from school but today we are going to a doctor’s appointment".Then describe what will happen at the doctor’s appointment.
If you all are going into a new situation, let your child know about it beforehand. If you always go to McDonalds but are planning to go to a sit down restaurant instead, let your child know what the differences will be. "Normally, we stand in line to ask for food but this time we will sit down, look at a menu and someone will ask us what we want."
If you put a schedule in place and let your child know of changes as they occur, your child will feel safer and will behave better.