Importance of Daily Routines for Kids
Building a routine for your toddlers and preschoolers is an important part of fostering healthy development. Daily schedules provide a structure to their day, which can lead to a sense of security and safety. Routines also help children learn how to transition between activities, which can be an important skill as they grow older.
A predictable schedule teaches young children about daily expectations and the importance of following rules, both in and out of the home. Having daily routines for kids can also ensure that they get adequate sleep, physical activity, and healthy meals.
When crafting daily routines for your toddlers and preschoolers, it’s important to make sure they are age-appropriate. For example, daily schedules for toddlers should include plenty of playtime and naps. Preschoolers will need more structure as they learn new skills like writing and math.
Benefits of Routines for Children’s Development and Well-being
Having a consistent routine has a multitude of benefits for a child’s development and well-being. By taking small steps daily, routines will benefit the children in the following aspects:
A structured routine allows young children to learn the importance of taking care of themselves such as getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, cleaning their teeth, and engaging in physical activities.
Children do not have to wonder what they should do next when they have a daily routine. It will help them develop an understanding of the length of time or duration that it takes to do different tasks, and ways to prioritise them according to importance. This teaches them the importance of time management which can help prepare them for their future life as adults.
Sense of responsibility
Children become more responsible by understanding that daily tasks should be done every day and on time. This will also boost their sense of accomplishment when they complete daily routines without help, as well as increase their self-esteem.
They will develop daily healthy habits such as nap time, getting to bed on time, homework time, and regular physical activity which are beneficial for children’s physical and mental health.
Having daily tasks such as breakfast time as a family, helping each other with chores, and spending time together will help strengthen the family’s bond amidst the busy family life. Through daily routines, parents can connect with their children regularly which can help foster a calmer household.
Following a regular routine helps young children develop positive behaviour, promote self-discipline, and regulate their emotions as they learn the discipline of following their routine.
Ideas for Daily Routines for Kids
Here are some daily routine ideas that you can practice for your toddler or preschooler:
Meal times and snack times are important parts of daily routines for kids. It allows the family to come together, bond and enjoy quality time with one another. Meal time is also an opportunity for children to learn about healthy eating as well as table manners.
Scheduling regular meal times
Meal time should be included in their morning routine, where every family member is present before they left for school and work.
- Breakfast – 7:00 AM
- Lunch – 11:30 AM
- Dinner – 5:00 PM
Ideas for healthy meals and snacks
- Breakfast – Oats, fruit and yogurt, omelettes
- Snacks – Fruit smoothies, egg muffins, whole-grain crackers
- Lunch – Sandwiches with lean protein, bean burritos, veggie wraps
- Dinner – Chicken strips with vegetables, Herbed lamb chops with mashed sweet potato
Involving children in meal preparation
When preparing daily meals, it can be beneficial to involve your children in the process. Have them help with setting the table, washing fruits and vegetables, mixing ingredients together, or packing lunch boxes. This will give them a sense of ownership over their daily meals and make meal times an enjoyable activity for them.
Playtime is a fun and important part of a child’s daily routine. It encourages children to use their creativity and imagination, as well as practice different skills such as problem-solving and social skills.
Structured play activities
- Solving a jigsaw puzzle
- Board games
- Going for daily walks
- Bike rides
- Exploring a nearby park
- Playing catch or tag in the backyard
Besides structured play activities, you can also schedule some time in a child’s daily routine for unstructured play. It gives them a sense of independence and helps to build their self-confidence. Allowing a child to have some time for free play every day will give them a break from structured activities and allow them to express themselves creatively.
Sleep is essential for young children’s physical and emotional development. Naps help them to recharge their energy after a long day of activities.
- Babies (3-12 months) should get 2 daily naps (each nap lasting 1-2 hours)
- Toddlers (12-36 months) should get 1 daily nap (lasting 1-3 hours)
- Preschoolers (3-5 years) should have daily quiet time (lasting 1-2 hours)
- Keeping the nap times routine and consistent
- Setting up a comfortable environment where they can relax
- Providing enough restful activities before their naps
Transitional activities before and after naptime
- Before – story time, puzzles, singing lullabies
- After – light physical activity like dancing, colouring and drawing
Here is a sample daily routine for toddlers:
This is just a sample routine which you can print and practice right away, or adjust based on the child’s schedule and needs.
Involving Children in the Creation of their Routine
Children should be involved in the daily routine-building process. Explain to them why a daily routine is important and involve their ideas in the planning. This will help them understand how their daily structure benefits their development.
Empowering children and promoting independence
- Ask for their opinion
- Give them choices
- Embrace mistakes
- Recognise and celebrate successes
Tips for involving children in routine planning and implementation
- Give them control over small decisions
- Make daily tasks fun
- Break down complex tasks into smaller steps
- Help them create a checklist for daily routines
- Praise them daily
- Use positive reinforcement
Creating daily routines for toddlers and preschoolers might seem overwhelming, but it can be an effective way to encourage healthy habits and develop independence in children.
Building routines for toddlers and preschoolers is an effective way to help them structure their daily lives. Not only does it provide consistency, but daily routines can also help foster independence in children. Involving your child in the routine-building process is essential for their success in the future. Keep daily activities fun and age-appropriate, and use positive reinforcement to ensure the routines are followed. With some patience and consistency, you can create daily routines for your toddlers or preschoolers that work for everyone in the family.
Give your child the best start in life!
Take the first step towards giving your child a head start. Contact Okinja Early Learning Centre today to find out how adding play-based learning to a well-thought-out daily routine can help them grow!