“When positive experiences are repeated, strong connections form between the neurons in the brain and provide children with a sense of security.”
- I Am Your Child, Ad Council, pg 6
Here is Why you should create and maintain routines and rituals
Your child(ren) learns what to expect from his environment and how to understand the world around him/her from the routines in his/her life. Not matter what the routine or ritual, knowing what will happen next gives children emotional stability. ‘They feel safe and secure and when they do, they are free to do their “work”, which is to play, explore, and learn’ (www.zerotothree.org).
Routines can also decrease conflict because they are like built-in instructions. For example, how to clean-up; how to get ready for bed; how to get dressed, etc.
Many families take special rituals from their own childhood. Do you have a favorite song, book, or activity that you would like to add to your family’s experience? Or would you like to start a ritual of your own? Have fun and find enjoyment in creating memories your child will take into his/her own adulthood!
Hoping you will find some of the following ideas helpful. Remember each child/family is different, don't try to do it all at once, don't expect to be perfect, or exactly on time each day. One idea might work great for one, but not another. If you need more ideas about routines specifically for your student be sure to ask your teacher. Your teachers are here to help!
Life happens, and we are human. Start on one routine, get consistent with making it happen, then work on another.
You can do this!
I love you rituals
I love you rituals are designed to build eye contact and bonding between you as the adult and your child - as their attention span and social development are strengthened. Rituals can be a constant in your young child's life, when so many other things may be changing.
Rituals are a moment taken with someone for the purpose of connecting. Pick a time, pick a place, and consistently engage your child with an activity - you have started a ritual.
Some suggested times for rituals: waking up or going to bed, when you or you child returns from being away, when your child or you are leaving without you or them, birthdays, getting or loosing a tooth, birth of a sibling, during any family time. Some suggested rituals you can follow, but try to also make your own.
(from I LOVE YOU RITUALS)
A Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
With child in your lap, rock side to side -
“ I know a woman who lives in a shoe”
Touch each of the child’s fingers –
“ She had so many children she knew just what to do”
Fold child’s fingers down inside your hands –
“ She held them, she rocked them”
Pull your child’s hands with yours still around them to his/her chest or to your chest – “ She tucked them in bed”
Wrap your arms around child in big hug –
“ I love you, I love you, I love you, she said”
Your Fingers Are So Sleepy
Keep your voice calm and soothing, yawn and speak slowly as you gently stroke and tuck down each of your child’s fingers as you say the rhyme.
“Your fingers are so sleepy
It is time they went to bed.
First you, baby finger,
tuck in your little head.
Ring finger, now it’s your turn.
Then comes the tall one,
this is just great.
Pointer finger, hurry,
because it’s getting late.
Is everyone here and settled in?
No, there’s one to come.
Move over, everybody – here comes the thumb.
A Big Crash
Hold child and swing him/her around. “Look at the airplane, flying through the sky. Oh, no! Bumpy Weather! It looks like a storm. We are crashing!”
Now fall gently to the floor with child in your arms. Continue, “What a crash! I need to check you out to make sure nothing was hurt.”
Touch each body part and encourage eye contact as you talk – “This arm looks good and these eyebrows are OK! Oh look, your nose survived” and so on.
After all the parts are checked, take off again and continue poor weather or running out of gas.
Adult holds 2 corners of blanket and child holds opposite 2 corners – Place a ball or balloon in the middle of the blanket.
Tell the child what the “signal” is going to be “1, 2, 3, go”; or “alligator” – you would say “always, apple, alligator” so they are listening for that signal word. On the signal you and the child toss the ball/balloon/stuffed animal into the air and catch it in the blanket.
Optional: Keep playing and count how many time you catch the object
Walk and Stop
Pick child up in your arms, then walk as you sing or chant these words to any tune that works for you.
“You walk and you walk and you walk, and ... STOP!”
Bring your body to a stop quickly and make eye contact. Repeat song and move around room again. Movements can change as you carry child - march, hop, jump, rock, etc.