Before our eldest was born I got a lot of advice about being a parent and how to raise a baby – it comes with the territory once your belly starts to swell. But one of the best pieces of advice my husband and I got was around routines. A close friend and a cousin of my husband both used the Tizzie Hall Save our Sleep routine. We borrowed the book and both of us were sold – we are both routine creatures and as first-time parents, it was good having a set plan of when to feed, change and put the baby to sleep – we didn’t have to play the guessing game of why our little bundle was crying.
- It helps them feel safe and secure – they will know that their needs are being met resulting in a happy and content baby (although do expect times of tears and crankiness);
- It can help establish their body clock – having the same sleep times during the day and at night will help a baby’s body know when it’s time to sleep.
- It can help establish good sleep patterns and will help teach your baby to self-settle between sleep cycles.
Routines are good for children because:
- An organised and predictable home environment helps young children feel safe and secure – humans are afraid of many things, and a child’s fear can include everything from a suspicious new food to a major life event. Change can be handled best if it occurs in the context of a familiar and consistent routine.
- It eliminates the power struggles – children start to learn that certain activities happen at that specific time of day and this reduces nagging and the bossing around.
- They help kids cooperate – stress and anxiety for everyone are reduced as everyone knows what comes next and there is fair warning for transitions.
- They help children become independent – If you forget a step in the routine, you’ll be sure your little one will remind you that it’s time to brush teeth or pack their bag. Kids love being in charge of themselves and having a sense of independence and this results in less opposition and rebellious behaviour.
- It helps children establish a sense of time – while they don’t yet grasp the concept of time (in terms of minutes, hours etc.) they order their day by the events that happen. They begin to have a better understanding of their world, know what to expect and can start to make predictions. They will also start to understand concepts such as ‘before’ and ‘after’.
Routines are beneficial for parents because:
- They can help new parents learn to interpret their baby’s cries –
when following a routine you will begin the distinguish between a baby’s hungry, tired or bored cries.
- You can plan your day – you can organise doctor’s appointments, school drop-offs and pick-ups, extra-curricular activities and ME time (treat yourself to a massage or a hair cut).
- If things change and become hectic, a routine can help you feel organised and keep stress levels down.
- You can complete daily tasks effectively and efficiently – there is time to get that load of washing done or do some vacuuming, go out and do the grocery shopping or go to the gym/yoga/pilates.
- You can have time for yourself and your partner in the evening – the Save our Sleep routine has the kids in bed at 7 pm which means you should have a few hours at night to spend as a couple, which is important to ensure you maintain a strong and loving relationship.
Benefits of a Routine:
From a personal perspective…
I enjoy having a plan each day (I’m such a teacher). I know our day starts and ends at the same time, I can plan my daily and weekly activities, and if we have an event or something unexpected pops up I can keep myself calm by upholding the routines, which will help keep the boys calm. If you have any questions about establishing and maintaining routines feel free to ask.