Often we forget children need transition time… between events, tasks, and even normal day to day activities. It’s almost as if children accumulate and store pent up energy that needs to be expelled, before they can settle into another task. Ask any school teacher or provider, they will attest to this collective time between one activity and the next. This time is often missed as we try quickly to get them to bed, brush their teeth, or even sit down for a meal, and it often ends in frustration and angst. Transition time doesn’t have to be long but realized and naturally built into a child’s day. Doing this not only makes life as a parent easier (who learns to expect this rather than get frustrated), but it also allows the child the time to release the energy, and mentally and physically prepare for the next thing.
Rest time is a very important time of the day for a child. Even older children who no longer nap need quiet time, to process information from the day and rest their growing bodies. A child’s mind works two to three times as hard as ours does! Even my seven year old has quiet time when she is home from school. It helps break up the day. I work very hard to stick to the same routine. I even structure our activities around this time, which may seem excessive (and sometimes we run late). But, my children’s bodies and minds expect this time and are comfortably into this rhythm. And, this part of our day also gives me a much needed mental and emotional break and my own quiet time. – Jodi Healy
Bedtime routines are very important for children of all ages, especially young children. It is the end of the day for everyone! Everyone is tired and needs time to wind down. Routines and structure establish a child’s confidence and expectations. With a predictable routine, a child knows what is going to happen and feels secure and safe. Bedtime can be challenging, especially for mothers or caretakers who have been alone with the children all day with no break. Invent a mantra to keep your patience. Even if you do lose patience just communicate with your children the truth, that you are tired and need time alone. The most important piece is to never send your child to sleep thinking you are angry with them. Sleep is extremely important for children. It is the time they process all the information and stimuli from the day, and when their brain rests.