I’m a firm believer that children need routines and boundaries to make them feel safe and protected. Here follows a #GuestPost from @TheRealSupermum explaining how you can bring routines into in your daily life and make life easier as a result!
Draw up your routine into a plan, an easy step by step guide of what is going to happen at what time each day, then attach your plan to your fridge so it is in clear view of all the family.
Sit your child down and talk them through it, explaining that the plan shows what is going to happen each day, if they are old enough they can follow the plan too, if they are too young then you will need to constantly give warning to what is coming next and refer back to the routine plan.
“Look the plan says we eat lunch at 1pm, we have 15 minutes until then, can you play nicely while mummy goes to make you lunch?”
You can use an alarm clock to time those 15 minutes, when the alarm rings – its time for lunch. You have prepared your child for what is going to happen next.
A routine will only work if you stick to it, be consistent and don’t start changing things, or you will leave your child confused. You may start resembling a parrot as you will need to keep repeating yourself over and over.
“It will be time for bed in 15 minutes”, set the alarm for 10 minutes time.
“It will be time for bed in 5 minutes, when the alarm rings next time we say goodnight” – you are preparing your child for bed, they know when the next alarm rings it is time for bed.
The alarm works a treat in my house, I am not just making them tidy their toys away and scooping them up and saying bedtime, I am allowing them to learn to accept that they have a certain amount of time left, before they are going to bed. They know when the next alarm rings its time to say goodnight, they are prepared for what is coming next and accept it much better.
Talk your child through the day with an excited tone, let’s make every task we do fun, even if it is boring, your child doesn’t think it is.
“If you put your shoes on we can go to the park” – Here you are giving your child the choice, it is not a choice, you are going to the park.
“Can you put your shoes on, so we can go to the park” – Here you are asking them can they do it? You know they can do it, but they may just want to be awkward today and decide not too.
Instead you say “ In 5 minutes time we are going to the park, let’s get your shoes”.
Don’t give a toddler too many choices as you are putting them in charge, don’t you know if it’s a snow boot or sandal day?
Stop bribing your child, if you do this we can go there. You are telling your child where you are going and that’s it, there is no reasoning, it’s on the routine plan, so you follow it.
Organising your day into a routine is a great way to relieve some of the daily stress and you will find your child reacts quicker and easier to tasks. Children know when mum is stressed and they play up even more, when mum is relaxed, calm and in control, the child responds and behaves much better.