Why Routines & Schedules Matter for Toddlers

INA Blog Why Routines & Schedules Matter for ToddlersToddlers are a tornado of energy – their activity whirls all day long until suddenly, it doesn’t. Parents and Nannies know what might be coming next: a toddler meltdown. The best way to avoid these is to maintain consistency with routines and schedules.

Toddlers thrive on routine. It provides a sense of rhythm and security that helps them know what’s coming next and what to expect. Here are some additional things to remember when it comes to the benefits of routines for your little one.

Routines create a sense of safety.
Predictability is important for toddlers. It helps them feel comfortable and more stable in their environment. This allows them to feel less prone to anxiety or worry, because they are generally able to anticipate what’s coming.

Routines and schedules help bolster confidence.
Toddlers are learning how to communicate, speak up for themselves, and ask for what they need. Having a routine gives them confidence and a feeling of belonging. When they feel like they have a ‘place’ and a ‘say’, this helps build their self-esteem in a healthy way from a young age. 

Routines help with sleep.
We all know how important it is for children to get good sleep. Whether it’s regular nap times or sleeping through the night, getting kids on a regular sleep schedule will help minimize those tantrum outbursts that stem from being exhausted or overtired. Bedtime routines are also a great way to establish strong bonds with your kids. Reading a story, saying a prayer, talking about one thing you’re grateful for that day, or singing a song are all great ways to help your kids to wind down and stay asleep longer.

Routines help educate.
What do you do before you eat dinner? Wash your hands. What do you do before you go to bed? Get in your pajamas and brush your teeth. Everyday routines have lots of learning opportunities associated with them. Each of these routines gives you the chance to teach children about why these things are important.

Routines can also help with self-regulation when something goes awry.
We all know that routines and schedules aren’t perfect from day to day. There will be things that come up and throw things off track sometimes. But having a routine in place can help your toddler cope when something does come up. For example, maybe their nap time was missed because of a special outing you were doing together, or dinner time was late. Knowing that things happen, but that the rest of their schedule or routine can stay the same will help them learn important coping and adapting skills that will take them into their older years.

Most adults would say that there is a sense of predictability about their day – whether it’s getting up at the same time each day or something else. By helping set up routines and schedules that work for you and your family early on in your children’s lives, you are helping build stronger, more confident humans.

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