Even if you’re a new parent, it doesn’t take long for you to realize that establishing some type of daily routine or structure will help eliminate a lot of chaos and stress in your life. Once you’ve survived a few meltdowns – from your child and possibly yourself – the importance of creating and adhering to a morning and bedtime routine becomes all the more apparent. Scores of research indicates that while parenting styles can vary greatly from one household to another, children tend to do best in a home where structure and routine are encouraged. Below are four key points that illustrate why it’s important to establish a morning and bedtime routine with your toddler.
Routines create a sense of stability and security.
This is perhaps the most important reason why establishing a daily routine with your toddler is a wise move to make. Believe it or not, children actually crave structure and boundaries, because it provides them with a sense of stability and security about their home environment. Countless studies have shown that children who grow up in an environment without this sense of order and structure tend to develop issues with anxiety and insecurity, which can lead to a myriad of behavioral problems. Having a clear-cut routine in place will help provide your child with a stable, predictable environment, which is vital to their overall well-being.
Routines help your child gain a concept of time management.
Time management is an important concept for your child to learn, because let’s face it – they’ll be working within various time and schedule constraints throughout all of the different phases of their life. In addition, keeping a consistent routine will help your child build a greater understanding of what it means to complete certain tasks within an allotted amount of time, and in a certain order. For example, they’ll know that they have to get dressed, eat breakfast and brush their teeth before leaving to go to day care, and that they can’t lollygag or they’ll be late!
Routines are better for your child’s health.
If your toddler is going to bed at 8:30 p.m. one night and then 10 p.m. the next, it’s going to be hard for them to develop a quality sleep schedule, which can have a negative impact on their health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, there is a strong link between sleep deprivation and the development of ADHD symptoms in children. Sticking with a consistent sleep schedule can alleviate a variety of sleep disorders that have the potential to create further health and/or behavioral issues down the road.
Routines help strengthen the relationship between you and your toddler.
As everyone gets adjusted to flowing in the daily routine, your toddler will feel that sense of safety and security that is so important at this early stage in his/her life. When they know what is expected of them, as well as what you’ll be doing with them on a daily basis, it will give them an important sense of comfort and reassurance. In other words, they will feel loved, and without a doubt, they will be more than happy to reciprocate that feeling!
Not only are routines helpful in terms of establishing boundaries and creating a sense of stability for your child, but they’re a great way to model good habits and improve the efficiency of your busy life. While there’s nothing wrong with occasionally departing from the norm and just going with the flow, it’s important for your daily routine to be the “anchor” that keeps the household running smoothly. This will ensure a stable, healthy and productive environment for your child, which will reward you in many ways for many years to come.