Modern Parent

The importance of routines and schedules in childcare

By Tracy Martin-Turgeon of The Children's Workshop - Schedules and routines are predictable for children. Children in early learning facilities do not know how to tell time, so routines and schedules are their time. When schedules are not followed or interrupted it throws children off.

When children know what is going to happen and what to expect during the day, they receive stability and security. This gives children time to focus on learning and not worrying and it helps eliminate the anxiety of what will happen next.

Tracy Martin-Turgeon from The Children's Workshop discussed the following on why routines and schedules are so important when it comes to childcare:

When routines in child care are done every day around the same time, children grow to create their own routines that will help them learn independence. Some children have trouble with transitions, but when they know what will happen next each day, it takes the pressure and anxiety out so they can move with ease and feel comfortable in their environment.

During lunch time routines children have opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations that help children build their vocabulary and try different foods that peers are eating.

Many parents ask why their child still needs a nap. This is a great question,  and the answer is that any child under the age of five needs a nap for a few reasons. One, they are doing so many activities and learning so many things in the morning portion of the day; therefore their brains need to rest. Second, their bodies are growing every day and changing so much that they need time to relax and rest. Some families might say that their child is not sleeping at night because they take a nap everyday at school. Some children may not need naps when they get closer to five years old. But some children are not sleeping at night and need a better routine.

  • Toddlers need rest 12-14 hours a day including a 1-3 hour nap.
  • Preschoolers need rest 11-12 hours a day including a 1-2 hour nap

These are only guidelines. Although parents know their children best, most children fall in this category.

A sample of a routine:
  • Your child arrives at child care between 6:30- 9:00 am. They will most likely play with a few quite toys and have some breakfast during this time when other children are getting dropped off.
  • Between the hours of 9:00 am- 11:00 am your child will most likely engage in activities, art, sensory activities and story time, If they are an infant,  various feeding times and tummy times take place. Older children will go out to recess.
  • Around the hours of 11-12 pm lunch is served. Infants will eat according to the family schedule.

    12-2 nap times, soft music and maybe a story is read at this time.

    When children wake, diapers are changed for smaller children, bathroom times, and snack.

  • 2-4 outdoor times take place, activities indoors, different centers and art projects.

    4-6pm quite activities, and prepare for departure times

If your child attends an Early Learning Center and you are not sure of the routines. Just ask you might be surprised all the things your child does in the course of the day. Even taking a nap.


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