These days, several moms asked me how they made their son sleep through the night and the answer to this and many questions of that nature come together in two words: ROUTINES and HABITS.
I can tell you that the secret of success in most of the challenges faced in raising children is in CREATING PROPER ROUTINES and designed in a way that is consistent with the type of requirement and personality of the child. I always say that attending to the individuality of each child is essential; Always keep in mind that what works for others will not necessarily “work for my child.”
“SEEKING THAT CONNECTION WITH YOUR CHILD”, (a phrase that I use a lot in my book Happy Kids) is the key, and that once found, that connection will be the little light that will help you determine what best suits your child in the middle of “that sea” of recommendations.
In that sense, a quote from Alfred Adler, an Austrian physician and psychotherapist and one of the forerunners of Positive Psychology, is very good. He said that:
“A battle with a child is always a losing battle. We will never get their cooperation through fighting. […] We would save an incalculable amount of stress and wasted effort if we realized that cooperation and love are never achieved by force “.
This is the CONNECTION; this is what we must “cultivate”.
Understanding the concepts
ROUTINES are actions that are performed regularly and in the same way always. Also, to do them no “intellectual effort” is required.
The implementation of an effective routine will lead to the incorporation of positive habits in the child. Although for a lot it means the same routines = habits. Habits are behaviors that develop and internalize after being “routinely” practiced.
In this glossary also appears the word CUSTOM which, depending on the perspective, can be positive or negative. Scolding phrases such as: “Quit that bad habit!” May come to mind. The truth is that these three words must be strengthened from the most positive side possible.
How does routine benefit us?
A proper routine will bring many benefits to children, but also to parents, because as long as everything goes smoothly at home, everyone will enjoy that harmony. It is like the gears of a well adjusted and lubricated machine, which make everything move correctly.
I can highlight several positive aspects:
– Lowers anxiety levels in children. Some parents are afraid of imposing discipline on their children, because they see it as a repressive action. But a discipline carried out with respect and balance has a reassuring, “restraining” effect. Although it sounds contradictory, sometimes, children who are anxious, have tantrums easily and are very restless is because they come from a disorganized environment, without limits and rules.
– It gives them autonomy. Once they learn to perform their tasks fluently: they brush their teeth on their own, choose their clothes and dress themselves, for example; they feel like “big kids” and that gives them satisfaction.
– They learn to organize. They understand the importance of completing a task from start to finish in a set time.
– They learn the meaning of responsibility. They will feel gratified by meeting the objectives.
– They discover the value of teamwork and cooperation. By involving them in household chores appropriate to their age, they realize how their contribution, no matter how small, is important and makes a difference.
Don’t underestimate modeling
Sometimes parents find it very difficult to establish routines for their children and end up realizing that they do not have them either and live in disorganization. Obviously, this is a stumbling block, because what is not practiced cannot be taught.
It is more than repeated by therapists and educators that “it is taught by example”. We adults are the role models for our little ones. That is why we must always bear in mind that we do not gain anything by “telling” them what to do while they see and perceive otherwise. Consistency is paramount.
Routines help consolidate positive habits
From the moment the child arrives in the world, parents must begin to create their routines, and as they grow, they adapt to their age range.
There are some routines that we can consider basic and should be incorporated from an early age:
– Food. Eat at the same times each day. Sit correctly at the table without distracting elements (Tablet, cell phone, television, among others).
– The dream. Go to bed at the same time. Do relaxing activities before bed. Withdraw visual stimulation well in advance. Take a relaxing bath.
– Personal hygiene. Wash your hands regularly. Brush your teeth after every meal. Maintain the hygiene of your whole body.
Playing is always better
It is amazing what children learn with play activities. The knowledge is fixed in their brains almost imperceptibly and what they remember is “how much fun they had” doing that activity.
So, once again, we must run our imagination for the tasks that they must carry out have some funny details. For example, make a storytelling challenge to narrate in bed before going to sleep.
Another idea that can be very motivating for children is that they work out their “chores” itinerary together. They can do it on a large card and add colors and drawings alluding to the tasks they have to do; it will surely make for a cute craft. In the market you can get emoticon stickers that will be used to put it on each day according to its performance. This should not become a system of rewards or punishments, but should serve as a self-assessment of how they are assuming their responsibilities each day. Now, if you want to establish some kind of reward for “the mission well accomplished” is not bad, I only suggest that it is not something material; because the fulfillment of their duties is inescapable.
Positive reinforcement is important, especially since the routine, being repetitive, can sometimes be boring for you and you want to break it. In these cases, it is good to be flexible and that if some of the days you cannot comply with some of the activities nothing happens, only that you will have to foresee some mechanism of recovery or return to balance.
In conclusion, the implementation of a balanced routine is a process that takes time, requires patience and forms the integral learning of the child and his psycho-emotional development. CONNECT WITH YOUR CHILD and you will see that everything flows.
If you still have questions, write me, I am here to help you.