Daily routines create predictability in a child’s life that helps him to feel secure in the big world that he learns so much about every day. Daily routines can help you chart a safe course through tantrum waters because the familiar patterns in the day is comforting to your child. Even if you don’t create a daily routine for your child, he will create one for himself. It is better for you to create a routine that works for you than to adapt around a routine your child creates for himself.
Pantley cites an example of a boy who would fall asleep on the sofa to the sound of the TV. His parents would lament that he could never fall asleep in bed. This is because the boy had created his own routine of falling asleep on the sofa. So if you don’t like the routine of your child falling asleep on the sofa, create your own routine.
The good news is that it isn’t difficult to create daily routines for children. For children, the rough time frame for creating a routine can be anything up to thirty days. I used to have a lot of trouble getting Gavin to sleep at night when he was little. I tried the whole routine thing but whenever Gavin recognised the pre-sleep routine, he would freak out and fight even harder because he knew it was time to sleep and he didn’t want to sleep. After that, I gave up and concluded that routines did not work for my son.
When Gavin was a little older, the whole bedtime routine thing fell into place like magic. Suddenly, the mention of sleep no longer brought with it howls of protest. Sometimes Gavin would be so agreeable about it that I’d be completely bowled over by his behaviour.
Routines aren’t necessarily for everyone. Some parents enjoy living on the fly. Pantley believes that you should only do what you feel comfortable with. Establishing a routine should be something you try if it suits you. If routines aren’t your thing, there are other disciplinary tools you can use. I’m not particularly a routine person myself, but there have been times when it has helped me in dealing with Gavin.
What routines do you use with your children?