Routines and rituals-very important for kids! Why? Children like to know what is happening They need the security of repetition in a world that is ever changing. Think about it-who likes change? It is much more comfortable for us all as adults to have a routine that is predictable, go to work, have our meals, enjoy our hobbies, etc.
Children need that predictability
even more than adults. If you establish a routine at bedtime, life will be more even-keeled. When my kids were young we had dinner, played briefly, took a bath where we were able to play and just talk together, followed by brushing teeth, reading a story or two, saying our prayers and then saying good night. We were able to alter the routine slightly, if we had been out a little later, by omitting the bath, but still reading the story. (We knew what the shortest book in the bookcase was for those very late nights!)
Leaving a child at daycare is another example of an important ritual. You should talk to your child about what he/she should expect when they get dropped off at school . It is good to remind them that you have to go to work, but you will be back to pick them up before supper. (You might talk about something fun you can do on the way home or what you will cook for dinner. Maybe your child can help you come up with an idea of something to look forward to.) It is good to have a special good bye. “I love you,” out the door with a wave from the car is always good. All our schools have a “good-bye” window. It is always important to exit quickly (don’t sneak out on your child – they may find it more difficult when you leave the next day).
Holidays are another time, when rituals that are uniquely for your family, are very important. We have a tradition at Thanksgiving where everyone shares one thing for which they are thankful, following grace. It is very interesting to hear what the children have to share. Even very young children will have something for which they are thankful.
Remember that rituals arise from routine, and routine comes from repetition. How many times have you read Goodnight Moon or Green Eggs and Ham?
All that repetition helps children learn security, love, and grow in their emotional and academic development.