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New Year, Old (and New!) Routines

By Too Small to Fail

New Year, Old (and New!) Routines

Singing songs at bedtime, eating dinner together every day, reading a special book to your baby or toddler—these are all routines that children enjoy sharing with parents and caregivers. But routines also play an important developmental role, because they help children develop stronger social and emotional health that can benefit them long-term.

According to a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, routines can improve the social and emotional health of young children. Researchers found that story telling, shared meal times, singing and play routines doubled the odds of a child having high social and emotional health. Other studies have shown similar findings. Turns out that routines help children learn to trust and depend on others. This is a valuable asset for stability in relationships, and strengthens parent-child bonding time.

In addition, routines help babies and toddlers better manage emotions, since they know what to expect and aren’t as easily pulled into power struggles with parents and caregivers.

While family life can often be chaotic, there are many ways that parents can introduce routine into their children’s lives. Finding time to have regular meals together can be challenging for busy families, but this time together offers a great way for parents to build trust with children and encourage new vocabulary. Establishing a regular bedtime is also a great way for parents to help their children get the physical and mental rest they need, while providing a comforting way to regularly connect through bedtime stories or songs.

Resources for Sharing:

  • This article from ZERO TO THREE explains how routines benefits babies and young children—as well as adults!
  • Real advice for parents from this PBS Parents expert about creating routines for children, from birth through teenage years.
  • This article from Michelle Howell Miller on Huffington Post shares how a bedtime routine benefits young children.

Special Notice: Too Small to Fail and the American Academy of Pediatrics are hosting a webinar for AAP members on January 28 at 1:30pm PST/4:30pm EST. The webinar will help pediatricians find the tools they need to encourage parents to talk, read, and sing to children from birth. Follow us and @AmerAcadPeds on Twitter for details on how to sign up!

VIDEO: Watch this childhood expert explain why routines are important for babies, toddlers and even older children. >>

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