We all have our own ways of doing things – taking a shower 🚿, getting ready in the morning, preparing a snack, getting ready for bed 🛏. This patterning of behavior allows us adults to complete tasks while leaving our conscious minds free to think about other, more interesting and important things.
For toddlers, routines provide comfort and a way to predict (and prepare for) what’s going to happen next. Routines promote understanding of order and sequence, the building blocks of more advanced thought processes like reasoning, judgment, and anticipation. 👍
Here are some ideas to consider:
Think about bath time as a sequence that is made up of a lot of little steps that you usually do in order. 🛁 Have your toddler help to get their pajamas from their room, get their towel ready, help turn the knobs to start the water (with your help to make sure it’s not too hot or cold), get the toys ready and pump the bath bubbles.
You can narrate as you go: “Now you can get a towel out of the drawer. I see you pulling open the drawer. Next you take the towel out. Now it’s time to close the drawer.” 🗣
In addition to their usual bedtime and morning routines, your toddler’s day includes all sorts of predictable sequences: “We are going (somewhere) in the car. 🚗 First, you put on your shoes, then you get into the car seat, you try the buckle, then I will make sure it is snug.” You can name where you are in the sequence as you go along: “Look, your shoes are on. Now let’s get into the car seat...”
Introducing some light household tasks to your toddler, like taking folded clothes to their drawer/closet 🧺 or putting books back on their shelf 📚, also helps them understand the order and sequence for how things get done.
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