Getting our little ones into a routine is one of the most difficult tasks as parents, but definitely one of the most rewarding when we achieve the goal. Routines create many opportunities for growth and development in young children, providing them with stability and predictability, resulting in a high sense of security and confidence in their surroundings. On the flip side of this, children can become anxious and unsettled when they don’t know what’s coming next, or they miss something that was meant to be there.
At our Earlybird Centres we place a lot of emphasis on our routine and keeping our children happy and secure in their environments. When children arrive at school on time, they are able to greet their classmates, settle into their environment and most importantly, have a chance to chat to their teachers before the day starts. Breakfast is a crucial part of their morning, preparing them for their day of activities at the centre. This is a time where children have the opportunity to share stories with each other in a relaxed environment before they start their learning for the day.
Our Morning Rings are super important for setting the tone for the day. Not only do we cover really important concepts such as weather and days of the week, find out about our children’s emotional well-being and check who’s in for the day, but we also place a huge emphasis on our fundamentals: numbers and counting, colours, shapes. As you can see, from the very get-go, our children are learning and developing much needed life skills and concepts.
Let’s look at the flip-side when arriving late to the day. The teacher is on the mat with all the children, she has to stop what she’s doing and welcome the late comer… some of the children lose interest and walk away, now the teacher has to re-settle those who were previously engaged (and let me tell you- it’s like herding cats!) Now either your child has to sit and eat breakfast all alone or they have to quickly sit down on the mat and join the Morning Ring. They have missed vital parts of their day and end up sitting anxiously amongst their peers not being able to tell anyone how they feel.
This feeling carries over to every subsequent activity throughout the day and many more opportunities for learning are lost. Sometimes your child may even become so frustrated that they lash out at a friend, adding to the already, very unsettled day.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a mom of three and I know how crazy mornings can be, especially when we are working from home, so I have found a few tips from Develop Good Habits to try help things along:
- Set a regular wake-up time.
- Say morning prayers or read morning poems and books.
- Get dressed by a certain time.
- Eat a healthy breakfast.
- Brush teeth and hair.
- Have morning playtime.
- Make lunches.
- Create morning routine charts.
- Take morning walks.
- Pack backpacks.
- Give them a fond farewell.
Remember, routines are established by slowly and consistently changing habits. This won’t happen overnight! Give it a week or two and I guarantee you will start seeing the positive benefits of a well established routine.