Now that summer is here, kindergarten readiness can be part of summer vacation. Although children younger than 5 years old are not even in school, it seems like they are on vacation too. Timetables and routines become more relaxed and bedtime cane be later. Having a more flexible and fluid routine is one of the benefits of summer, but still keeping a basic routine is a benefit for kids.
In the summer, the routine can be adjusted. Mornings might not need to start so early, but it can follow the same plan of getting up, having breakfast, and getting ready for the day. There may be time in the day to include some adventures like picnics, playground activities, longer playdates and more. Some communities have special parks and recreation activities for young children and parents or caregivers. Snacks and lunch may be at different times depending on the fun. After supper, will likely be the same with a bath, stories and bed. It’s not always easy to sleep when it’s still light, but keeping fairly close to a bedtime routine will help. Routines work together with the body’s biological clock.
Despite sounding burdensome, routines can lighten the load. Kids soon learn routines and are able to do them independently, needing less parent or caregiver direction. This helps kids learn to handle responsibility and gives them a sense of security. They may push against the limits of routines, but if the routines are not there, they can be thrown off balance. Knowing what comes next in the routine provides children with a feeling of control and helps reduce anxiety.
Speaking of clocks, wouldn’t it be nice if the minutes in summer could just be slower? For a play-of-the-day, play the game “What do we do next?” and, if appropriate, follow what your child suggests. Or suggest something at a bizarre time, like getting pajamas on at lunch time. Kids may think this is pretty funny. Does your child know the routine?