Parenting plans can vary significantly from person to person, and when it comes to discussion about keeping children on schedules, the views can vary as well. You may have some parents who take an extreme form of scheduling, which involves accounting for each moment of the day, while others may have no schedule and let the child dictate the day's events. On average, most parents end up somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.
How Keeping to a Schedule Helps Your Little One
While each child and parent are different, there are many benefits to your child in keeping a regular schedule and daily routine that you follow.
Daily routines help a child to feel safe and secure, as they know what will happen next and what is expected of them throughout the day. Additionally, routine helps children to master their daily tasks, which will give them the confidence they need to begin to take on new responsibilities as they get older. Many parents may notice that their child may act up or have a behavioural change when a parent has to leave for an extended period such as a business trip. This happens because the child feels less secure, as the dynamic and routine of the home has been changed.
When your child attends school, not only will they be expected to follow a routine, they will also be expected to be able to maintain this schedule with little prompting. Instilling a sense of routine early on in their lives will make this transition easier for your child and also allow them to be able to meet time schedules and learn to be on time.
Children need to get a certain amount of rest depending on their age. This is not merely so that they will not be tired and fussy throughout the day. They need to get enough rest for their body to restore itself after the hard work it puts in each day. Your children are going through the growth process constantly, both through body development and brain growth. Without the proper rest and recovery period, your child may suffer physical or developmental effects. Having a regular wake, sleep, and nap schedule will ensure that your child gets enough sleep and also helps them to learn to fall asleep on their own.
A schedule will not only teach a child that certain things occur during certain times, but it will also enable them to learn that most activities have a time limit as well. If your child has a designated time for outdoor play, art, or meal times, they will learn to focus on what they need and want to accomplish because they know they will only have a certain amount of time to do it.
Regular daily routines can help with developmental milestones such as toilet training. With regular eating and sleeping schedules, your child will eventually develop regular bathroom habits as well. When it comes time to toilet train, keeping track of these regular nappy changes can help you know the best times to get them to the toilet. Half the battle of toilet training is determining when your little one has to go.
Setting a schedule that you and your little one follow on a regular basis will let them know what you expect from them each day and the steps necessary to fulfill those expectations. Knowing expectations will help to eliminate fights and struggles with your child over things like teeth brushing and going to sleep. With a schedule, your child will know what needs to be done and when, While this will not completely limit your child's need to negotiate on things like bedtime, but it will prevent it from happening as often.
How Can Working Parents Maintain a Daily Schedule?
If you are away from your child throughout part of the week that does not mean you can't still develop a regular schedule for them. To help keep your child on a schedule even if you are a working parent you need to:
Set a wake-up schedule and routine to get ready in the morning before they go to child care. Be sure to leave enough time so that your child does not feel rushed.
Most child care centres follow a schedule to keep kids on track during their time at the centre. Find out from your centre what the routines are and try to keep them set on the weekend, especially meal and nap times.
As with the morning routine, have your child follow a schedule before they go to bed to build consistency.
No matter how busy your schedule may be, incorporating a daily routine for your child will not only help them with critical skills necessary to the future but will also help you make sure you are meeting all your child's needs.