As an adult, I feel more stable and secure when I know what’s in store for the week ahead.
When I display consistency in my own life, my work, health, and relationships are more successful.
As a teacher, I know that it is in my best interest to establish as much routine as possible for the children I interact with daily.
Consistent routines – events that happen around the same time and in the same way each day – increase security and reduce stress for children.
When children feel safe and know what to expect, they are able to focus on learning and exploring the world around them.
Predictable environments lead children to develop self-awareness faster and can reduce power struggles both at school and at home.
Young children order their lives by events, not necessarily by hours and minutes.
When these events happen in the same order each day, children have a better understanding of the world and how to organize their lives.
This is a skill that can last a lifetime.
Organized schedules also lead children to take on more responsibility and foster independence.
They know what is coming and can express the desire to do it on their own.
For example, they may learn that they always change clothes before naptime, and will declare they are ready to put on their shirt “by myself, just like mommy and daddy.” When a child knows what is coming, they also learn how to practice self-control and patience.
In my experience, even two and three year old children understand waiting and like to follow the class schedule.
Parents and teachers can work together to create rituals and choices around waking up, getting dressed, going to school, eating meals, going home, self-care, and going to sleep.
If your child is struggling to remember the routine, you can help them by creating a picture strip of daily events together.
Remember that routine does not have to mean boring!
Routines allow children to look forward to parts of their days and weeks that they enjoy, whether that is after-school play dates every Monday, family movie nights on Friday, or daily art and craft time.
Children need both consistency and limits, and the sooner we start, the better.
Shannon Brown is a head teacher at Little Genius International Kindergarten with a Master’s in Public Health. She cultivates healthy living by practicing yoga and rock climbing and has been living and teaching in HCM since 2014.