From Chaos to Consistency

Establishing structure and consistency is often no easy feat when working with children. But children, just like adults, thrive with “flexible structure.” What does this mean?  A flexible routine is a way to create predictability while still allowing children to feel free to relax and explore their world. Routines help provide a pattern and predictability that is essential to emotional, cognitive, and social development. Schedules are the main activities to be completed for the day and routines are the necessary “steps” to complete the schedule.

Importance of Daily Schedules and Routines

Establishing daily schedules and routines helps to ensure daily tasks and necessary areas of development are met, while also ensuring children receive the consistency they need.  When routines are consistent, a pattern is created, which gives a sense of predictability. As children become aware of this predictability, they begin to infer what will come next – which takes away unknowns that cause anxiety. When there are too many unknowns, anxiety builds up causing children to feel insecure. This can lead to emotional reactions like irritability, reluctance, or even aggression.

When children feel secure and comfortable in daily routines, they begin to recognize that their needs are being met regularly. Children begin to feel safe in their environment and learn to trust others to take care of them. This gives children opportunities to learn more about themselves, the world, and others. The trick is to develop daily routines for children that are consistent but also flexible and responsive to the needs of each child. When there is room for flexibility in your day, children are going to be able to cope with the unexpected better than if the schedule is rigid and unchangeable.

Elements of an Effective Schedule

  1. Free-Choice Time
  2. Outdoor Time
  3. Large-Group Activities
  4. Small-Group Activities 
  5. Transitions

Tips and Tools from Mother Goose Time

  • Teacher Guide– This is your tool for creative ideas on how to combine skills and thematic concepts into playful games, activities and projects.
  • Free Picture Schedule– New for 2016/2017 school year, these Picture Schedules are included with the Mother Goose Time program. Picture Schedules help you find a rhythm to your day and provide security, comfort, and clarity to a young child. DailySchedules.jpg
    • By adding pictures to support your words, children follow routines more smoothly, with greater independence and fewer behavior problems.

 

 

 

 

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