There is so much research on how as humans we strive with routine. Even more so for kids and toddlers especially. As toddlers, they are just learning the world and exploring and testing boundaries. Routines give them comfort and calm.
My husband has a super-strong morning routine and both boys love watching him go through each of his movements. It gives them calm knowing what he is going to do next and they try to mimic him as much as they can.
Right now we are in particularly challenging times, routine as we knew it has been shaken up and eliminated. This must be just that much more difficult for our kiddos to understand and endure. Right probably more than ever it is important for kids to have some routine that we can give at home.
When my oldest was about 18 months, I set forward to put a set of routine cards to help him know what was happening next. He loved them and we put it on the wall in order as well as in a little booklet tied with a ring. It really helped him understand what was happening next and know how bedtime, nap time and other times of the day went.
I found simple clipart photos for all the basic things we do. Story time, play time, screen time, diaper changing, lunch time, and dinner time. All of these helped him have some comfort and knowledge. Both boys have asthma and have to do a nebulizer mask at least once a day. It helped to include that in the routine as well so that he knew, mask time with a story or show and then bedtime (in our case).
There are also some amazing routine apps for kids to help them keep track of chores and their routine in an easy visual way on a device (extra points for them there right). My boys are still a little young for the routine apps but they were fun to play with and I could see kids even 4 or 5 and up really enjoying them and getting into them.
Now it is your turn, what are your routines for the day? How are you bringing some source of normalcy when everything is changing for your kids. Do you have a routine for yourself in the morning, evening or throughout the day that helps keep you going?
I notice that more than ever my routines also help me when some of the routines of child care and so forth have been eliminated. I wash my car at least twice a week (two toddlers they get the car messy fast) with a monthly car wash pass. Ever since the lockdown started I have been allowing myself to have this treat still. Not quite as often as before but even about once a week. There is no touching and I feel good about my car and that I am helping to keep a small business open. These small things matter. I find comfort in my routine for prayer, for getting ready in the morning and for staying active. This is a challenging time but we can ease the shakeup by keeping some of our routines.