importance of routines

Kindergarten Readiness – Learning/Thinking Strategies #16

Reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic may be the 3 R’s but there is another R that is especially helpful for young children and kindergarten Readiness: Routines. Yes, routines is an important learning and thinking strategy. I will admit that I’m not greatly fond of having routines. ‘Whatever’ or ‘whenever’ are words I use often. But I’ve had to rethink the value of routines, especially in light of two recent events.
When watching 2 toddlers while their parents had an evening out, I discovered that I clearly did not have all the details of the night time routine “just right”. Just as clearly, these activities were definitely important to the little ones and I had to do them in the right order and in the right way. As a teacher, whenever I needed to be away, I made sure there were plenty of notes for any substitutes. Kids rely on these routines for a sense of security and comfort. They are more confident when they know what to expect and can predict what will happen.

learning-routinesTurns out routines are a factor in setting our biological clocks, supporting healthy relationships, learning language, lowering stress and anxiety, regulating emotions and physical development. Routines will influence us all our lives. Just today I read this blog by a friend who has lost her house in a devastating fire and the impact of routines. She was talking with someone who had had a similar experience. “Laurel warns about the duration of time it will take to develop new routines. All routines were smashed when her house burned to the ground.  So many of our routines we take for granted.  We may consider ourselves to be free yet it’s the little routines that keep us grounded.” Reestablishing routines is part of the healing process.

What are your thoughts and opinions about routines? Are there some routines that help your child grow and learn? Any way that you can use some rrr..routine for learning and readiness today?

Readiness for Kindergarten – Tidy-Up Time at Christmas

While I don’t usually take down the Christmas tree this early, last night it fell over and decorations flew all over the room. Thank heavens that’s never happened before. My husband said it was all because it was a wild tree and was trying to escape. I didn’t feel much better but Lee giggled. However, as I was wiping up the water and sweeping up needles, I did realize there was a topic for a kindergarten readiness blog post.

Another learning lesson at Christmas is that we have to finish and turn to something new–whether we want to or not. This isn’t an easy lesson for little ones. When they are having fun, they do not want to tidy up and put their toys away, or stop playing and get ready for bed, or put their heads on the pillow and close their eyes on the day. At childcare centers, children are often given a few minutes notice that an activity will soon end and staff and kids sing songs to ease the transition. Tidy up time, tidy up time, toys away… is a favorite everywhere. Here at home, Santa was tucked in with several blankets to have a nap. He won’t go away quite yet and for awhile, little ones may still want to play Christmas.

Routines are very important for little ones and help them cope with activity changes everyday. Having routines at home also encourages readiness for kindergarten, where routines are a big part of school. The holidays have given us a vacation from ordinary routines but it’s soon time to tidy up and put the holidays away. Sigh, sometimes big people have a hard time letting go.  Would you agree?