Sticking to a daily routine offers endless social, emotional and physical developmental benefits for preschoolers. Here’s how to make your schedule stick:
• Seek their input: Kids are more likely to feel engaged if they are involved in creating their schedule, so seek their input on certain details, such as the timing of their daily activities. For example, ask them if they would prefer to have quiet time or creative time before lunch. Once you’ve settled on the specifics, use a dry erase board or chalkboard to display their daily schedule. Be sure to hang it somewhere at their eye level, and consider including little icons for each activity to help young readers make the connection between the words and their meanings.
• Sit down for dinner: Weeknights can be hectic, but try to make dinner a set time each evening where you can sit down together. Turning meal time into a family activity offers everyone a chance to connect, bond and share the best parts of their day.
• Try fun tech: Cool tech can help little ones get excited about following a routine while encouraging them to take on new responsibilities and care for themselves. For example, the My First Kidi Smartwatch from VTech, with its easy-to-use touchscreen and variety of digital and analog clockfaces, teaches time-telling skills. But it’s more than a watch, it’s also a playful “pet pal” that lets out a friendly bark at the top of the hour. Kids can even name the doggie, care for it and teach it tricks, or play interactive games featuring their puppy. What’s more, the smartwatch helps kids stay on track and learn healthy habits, with important reminders and chimes for brushing teeth, potty time and nap time.
• Create rituals: Keeping sleep schedules consistent can make falling asleep and waking up easier on kids, and little rituals can make these times of the day more comforting. Try singing a wake-up song each morning to get kids moving. At night, make it a daily habit to read a book together.
• Slow down: While routines are essential, it’s all too easy to become overly programmed. Be sure every single day includes free, unstructured time where kids can play, imagine and create.
A regular schedule can make for happier kids and a calmer household. Using positive reinforcement and new tech tools, you can help kids enthusiastically take the reins of their own routine.