Establish A Daily Routine

by : Mom Index

Talk to any mom and she will offer the same advice about parenting young children. Establish a daily routine for your child. Young children behave well when they can predict the events of the day such as breakfast, activity, lunch time, nap time and bed time. If they know they will eat when they wake up, attend an activity and return home for a nap after lunch, they are more likely to behave well and to benefit from participating in an activity than if they could not anticipate the events of the day.

Although you might be tempted to construct a schedule that meets your needs as a parent, it’s essential to assess your child’s needs and disposition and incorporate these factors into your routine. A proven way to develop a workable routine is to first observe your child to determine when he or she is hungry, tired, active and alert and then develop a routine that best fits your lifestyle. Be open to making adjustments to your schedule as your child matures and your life becomes more complex and active.

Once you establish a routine, it’s important to adhere to your schedule. Children acclimate to a schedule and their behavior becomes more predictable when they follow a routine. If your child misses a nap or has been out of the house for an extended period of time with you on errands, don’t be surprised if your child has a public tantrum or acts out when you return home. Naturally, your child is tired or inattentive because he has missed a nap or is hungry. You can resolve the situation by avoiding too many activities and returning to your schedule as quickly as possible.

Manage your child’s behavior by scheduling playgroups, gym classes, swim lessons and errands during times of the day that your child is alert and active. If necessary, make small changes to your child’s schedule to meet your needs as parent and family. For example, if you have attended a morning gym class only to spend half the class reprimanding your child, consider registering for an afternoon class. If your child does not listen to his instructor or is consistently tired on Monday mornings after a weekend of family events, choose an activity for a different day.

Keep the bedtime routine simple and predictable as well. At this point in the day you are both tired so there is no reason to have a complex and lengthy bedtime routine. If you bathe your child at night, run the bath at the same time each night. Then make the rest of the routine simple. For example, help your child change into his pajamas and brush his teeth. Set a rule of two stories per night so you read and then say goodnight. Teach your child that once you say goodnight and leave, he should be quiet and stay in his bed until he falls asleep. Then you can have a quiet and predictable night so you can stay on schedule as well.