Cultivating Security: The Power of Routines for Children

children development children pilates routines Mar 04, 2024

In the complex journey that is childhood, routines act as steady anchors, offering a sense of security and predictability amidst the ever-changing nature of a child’s life. From the moment they wake through to the fun that is bedtime, children thrive on the structure and consistency that routines provide. In this blog post, I will unpack the profound impact of routines on children's well-being and explore how caregivers can create a safe haven through intentional daily rhythms.


The Sanctuary of Predictability


Imagine a world where every day unfolds in chaos, with no semblance of order or routine. For children, such uncertainty can be disorienting and distressing. Routines, however, offer a element of predictability in this unpredictable world. Whether it's a morning ritual of breakfast followed by brushing teeth, or the comforting bedtime routine of storytelling and cuddles, these predictable patterns provide children with a sense of stability and control.


Building a Sense of Security


At its core, routine is more than just a series of actions; it's a powerful tool for building emotional security. When children know what to expect, they feel more confident and less anxious about the unknown.  They will feel at ease to try new things, to push past discomfort and explore, all necessary in learning and development. From infancy, consistent routines reassure babies that their needs will be met, fostering a secure attachment with their caregivers. As children grow, routines continue to play a crucial role in reinforcing this sense of safety and trust.


Nurturing Independence and Responsibility


Routines also empower children to develop important life skills, such as time management, organization, and self-care. By following a daily routine, children learn to take charge of their own needs and responsibilities, gradually gaining independence along the way. Simple tasks like tidying up toys or setting the table become ingrained habits, laying the foundation for responsible behaviour in adulthood.


Creating Meaningful Connections


Beyond their practical benefits, routines offer precious opportunities for meaningful connections between children and their loved ones. Whether it's sharing a meal together, engaging in a bedtime ritual, or simply spending quality time in each other's company, these routine moments strengthen bonds and foster a sense of belonging. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, these shared experiences serve as reminders of love, support, and connection.


Creating healthy lifestyle habits


We have an opportunity through creating routines to develop healthy habits for children such as exercise and self care. Making exercise a part of daily routines will set children up for learning and a lifelong habit of moving their body. Role modelling plays a powerful part in building these habits and create a beautiful supportive environment for children to feel connected in.


Making Exercise safe through routines

When we are dealing with complex needs, pain, or difficulty it is important to extend these routines into therapy. We can take children on a fun yet predictable journey to help manage the flow of sessions and create a safe nurturing environment for them to thrive within. From a game of memory to start with and finishing with a mindfulness activity and drawing on the wall we can use routine to benefit children in therapy in more ways than one.


By creating predictability, it means that we can take children on a sensory journey to manage stimulation, but we can additionally manage time effectively for them. We align expectations in an age-appropriate way through these routines which can help them feel safe and comfortable in a therapy environment.


Tips for Establishing Effective Routines for healthy habits.


1.     Consistency is Key: Establish consistent healthy routines for key activities such as waking up, mealtimes, playtime, bedtime. AND therapy or exercise.

2.     Habit stack exercise: An effective way to embed healthy habits is to layer them into established daily routines. Go to the scooter park on the way to school is a great way to set children up for the day.

3.     Keep it Simple: Stick to a manageable number of routines to avoid overwhelming children or causing unnecessary stress for everyone. Make it easy for yourself and them.

4.     Flexibility Matters: While routines provide structure, it's essential to remain flexible and adapt to changing circumstances when necessary. Adjust expectations.

5.     Involve Children: Encourage children to participate in creating and maintaining routines, ask them what activity they would like to do before dinner, therapy or school, giving them a sense of ownership and autonomy.

6.     Be Patient and Persistent: It takes time for routines to become established habits, so be patient and persistent in your efforts.


Creating routines around therapy

 1.     Communication is key: Work in with caregivers and parents to create routines before and after sessions to help with transition. Create a plan that works with them and set expectations so that everyone is set up for success.

2.     Align to their interests: Ensure that you create routines that align with their interests, you have a little boy who likes balls, start with throwing and catching every week.

3.     Be led by the child but provide routine: Offer them 3 options of exercises with two being something they have done before. This will help them feel comfortable but give them choice, independence and control.

4.     Include Challenges : Boost motivation and engagement by adding in a challenge exercise in your session. You might start with the challenge each session or finish with the challenge. Keep it the same and encourage progress tracking, feedback and praise through challenges.

5.     Take them on a sensory journey: Manage their stimulation and engagement via a sensory journey. Start with an obstacle course, then onto dancing and Pilates and finish with stretching and mindfulness. This will ensure that they are finishing in a calm and balanced state which is helpful for parents and caregivers.


Routines in early education settings


1.     Help transitions through routines: Drop off, educator changeover, and changing activities can all unsettle children so creating some predictability around these times can help children feel safer and more settled.

2.     Read the room: If they children are unsettled or there is more complex needs, get some routines happening around those difficult periods. Be lead by the energy of the children around what is priority in regards to creating routines.

3.     Use movement in routines: We know the benefits so set children up for success by layering in some movement into routines. From stretching before rest times, to an obstacle course before lunch these can go a long way to not only help kids feel safe but to prepare their body for the next activity.


In the complexity of childhood development, routines form the sturdy foundation that create moments of comfort, stability, and connection. By embracing the power of routines, we can create a nurturing environment where children feel safe, valued, and empowered to navigate life's journey with confidence.