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Initiating, progressing, concluding—providing your toddler with reassurance and organization

All of us follow specific, habitual ways of completing tasks—showering, morning preparations, snack creation, or bedtime routines.

Such behavioural patterns enhance adults’ efficiency while keeping their conscious minds free to contemplate more engaging and essential matters. 

For toddlers, routines offer solace, organization, and the ability to anticipate (and ready themselves for) subsequent events. Routines also foster comprehension of order and sequence, the foundational elements for more sophisticated cognitive processes such as reasoning, judgment, and foresight. As your child progresses to school age, the importance of routines will escalate, aiding children in harmoniously coexisting within a communal environment. 

Consider the instance of bathing time, a procedure composed of several smaller steps, typically completed in a specific order. Encourage your toddler to assist in gathering their nightwear from their room, preparing their towel, starting the water flow (with your supervision to ensure optimal temperature), and dispensing the bath soap. Narrate the process: “A clean towel is now needed from the drawer. Observing you open the drawer. Following this, remove the towel. Time to shut the drawer now.” 

Your toddler’s daily routine contains numerous predictable sequences besides the regular bedtime and wake-up routines: “Traveling (somewhere) by car is next. Initially, you’ll put on your shoes, followed by settling into the car seat, you’ll attempt the buckle, and then the fit will be ensured by checking its snugness.” Highlight your progress through the sequence: “Observe, the shoes are now worn. Let’s move on to settling into the car seat…” 

Incorporating minor domestic chores into your toddler’s routine, like relocating folded clothes to their drawer or restoring books to their shelf, also imparts an understanding of the order and sequence necessary for task completion.