Children love routines and rituals. They provide children with the security of knowing what to expect. The routine is the schedule. When do things happen? The ritual is how things happen. Rituals do not need to involve major formalized events. For our children, a ritual can be a bedtime story. The routine is that bedtime is at 8 pm.
Role of Rituals & Routines
Rituals are touchstones for our children. Whether it’s a daily ritual such as talking about your day at dinner-time or all the activities surrounding a major holiday celebration, our children learn to count on them and get a tremendous sense of security from knowing what to expect.
Rituals can make everyday life run more smoothly whether it’s the last trip to the bathroom before heading out in the car or having each child bring his dishes to the kitchen after dinner.
Some rituals bring a sense of shared fun to the family. Silly things like ducking your head when you drive under an overpass or trying to avoid stepping on the cracks when walking on the sidewalk are simply fun.
The predictability of routine brings a sense of security to children. They have little control over their lives so they like to know what to expect. That’s why getting to drink out of their favourite cup every day at lunch or sitting in the same place at the table is so important for children.
When traveling with children, try to maintain their regular bedtime and mealtime.
Holidays and other celebrations
Rituals play a role for children when it comes to special events. How you celebrate major holidays or what happens on birthdays is important to them.
Be careful when you add a new ritual to a regular holiday. The children will expect you to carry on with the new activity forever.
Children depend on knowing what they can expect. They then relax, secure in the knowledge they know what’s going to happen.
Children thrive when they know what to expect. Routines and rituals give them a real sense of security.