How important is routine to your child’s development

How important is routine to your child’s development

Most of us work to some sort of daily routine as adults. We are also responsible, at least in part for creating the children’s we care for routines. Apart from fitting in with our own needs, routines are also important in your child’s development.

Routines help children learn self-control. Consistency and keeping to similar times for play, snacks and naps etc provides a sense of security and emotional stability for the child. – A routine can help children to trust caring adults. A child must feel safe before they are able to play and learn. Our baby room keyworkers work closely with parents to ensure the child’s routine is consistent between home and the crèche in Glanmire. It is very unusual for any two babies to have the same routine. As children approach toddler age they naturally fall into a similar pattern to each other although this of course still differs slightly from child to child.

Routines are able to bring the carer and child closer to each other and power struggles are avoided by both the adult and child knowing what to expect and happen next. A very familiar routine to the children at our crèche is washing their hands before they eat. The process protects the child’s health as well as sign posts that it is time to eat soon. Tidy up time normally precedes washing hands at crèche and so the child is enabled to take responsibility whilst realising that there is an end goal to the process.

Every child is greeted by name as they arrive at our crèche. These routine interactions foster positive social skills. Play and meal times are also very social. Communication, turn taking, sharing, patience, co-operation and more are all learned at these times. We often use song to help between the transition of activities. Popular clean-up songs include:

“Clean up, clean up,
Everybody, everywhere
Clean up clean up
Everybody do your share”

As well as:

“Its time to tidy up
Its time to tidy up
Eh oh my addy oh
Its time to tidy up”


“Clean up clean up 1, 2, 3
I’ll help you
And you help me

Transitions may be marked in other ways such as games. Transitions can also be sign posted visually. For example in our Montessori class flash cards of routines and clocks are used to build our pre-schoolers sense of time. Routines encourage secure relationships and lots of opportunities to practice the same actions – both vital for learning.

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