Dealing with children under 5 years old can be overwhelming. They are in the stage of fast pace development. Changing in their body and needs happen rapidly. These may cause them showing unexpected behavior, asking many questions and sometimes showing some tantrums. Those can happen at one time or spread in many times, over and over. If we can not deal them well, we may be panic, act, say words which may not be suitable and may harm our children development.
Of course we want to prevent that from happening. In order to do that, there’s a way we can do to deal with them well and lessen – if it’s not zero the possibility – the negative effects we may cause. It’s setting up daily routine schedule for our children and us. It’s a simple way, but the benefits are many, which are:
1. Giving sense of security for children
Daily routine makes children knowing the steps they have to do each day. This will give sense of security and reduce or lose their sense of panic of not knowing what will happen next. The sense of security will likely make tantrums be avoided. Less tantrums will make children happier. When they are happy, everything they learn in their life will be absorbed easily. Therefore, they will develop well.
2. Giving guidance/basic structure about what we’re going to do a whole day.
Daily routine shows all children and our activities. It may only show the times and the main activities, but those can be our basic to make sub activities in details. When we deal with children under 5 years old, details are important. Those will make us able to plan of:
a. How to deal with situations that may arise.
Children are curious being. They always want to figure out everything around them by exploring with their senses. Especially when they’ve been able to move independently. This may make them in dangerous situations. Therefore, we have to create an environment which is relatively save for them. This is when daily routine schedule comes in to make us easy in planning what are needed in creating safety environment and the steps we need to do, in case something happened.
b. What answer we’ll give of all children’s questions.
Not only exploring thing, children also ask many questions. They are mostly simple. Yet, they are so simple that we may be confused how to answer the questions. So, we need to anticipate the questions before they are asked. To predict the questions, we can check the activities they will do and find sources (books, internet or other media) which are able to give us information what questions that children are usually asked related with the activities and what are the answers. It is very important to do because everything we say for the first time to young children will give the most impression, absorbed and last long . So, if we give wrong answer, later we have to correct it. It will be difficult to correct something which has been absorbed than giving the right one in the first place. It doesn’t mean that it can be done, but it will be more difficult to do.
c. How to be not panic or upset when children get tantrums.
Combination of children actions, questions they asked, things we have to do and the necessity to think quickly to deal with situations may make us panic. When we are panic, we are likely making mistakes such as make wrong decision in dealing with children and say harsh words which eventually may harm children development. Once again, daily routine schedule may come as handy tool to anticipate those events and make plans of how to deal with them. Preparation will make us ready and it may reduce our panicness when we deal with the real situations. When this happens, we won’t likely act or say things that may harm our children.
d. What rules we’ll tell children.
To make everything smoother, there are rules we need to tell to children. Without rules, the daily schedule routine won’t work and will be useless. Set simple rules for young children such as how many times they have to brush their teeth, where they have to put their toothbrush, tidy up the toys after they’ve played it, what consequences applied when rules are broken, etc. Again daily routine schedule can be handy for us in setting the rules in each daily activities easily. One thing should be noted is that the rules are applied to all family members. We (adults) can’t only make and tell the rules, but we have to follow and set example for children. This will make children following the rules easier, because they learn more and quicker from example. If we teach and exercise them to follow the rules since young children, they will follow the rules easier as they grow up. As long as, once again, we set the example as well. If we do not do it, it will give children chance to challenge the rules by giving argumentation about how we don’t follow the rules. Yet, why they should be. This argumentation can be given by children as early as 3 years old.
3. Allowing us to spread the lesson/values we’ll teach in chunks through daily activities.
When the structure is ready, there are others thing we need to give to children, such as lesson and values. There are lots that children have to learn. The lessons here are not only related with academic, but basic lessons as well such as how to do daily activities, self independency, gross and fine motor skill, disciplines, values, manner,etc. Those need to be given step by step and exercised daily. It’s because children under 5 years old learn more through repetition. It’s also because they still can not learn many things at one time, though they are the fastest human learner. It’s due to their brain structure which is still developing. Therefore, the lessons we teach must be given in chunks and matched with their development(physically, mentally, and socially). Daily routine schedule can make it easy.
4. Allowing us to determine adult who’s in charge in each daily activities.
Raising children is not easy. The responsibility (in terms of teaching) may be divided between spouses, amongst nuclear or extended family, or with other institution such as day care or school. Daily routine schedule can be handy in planning who is in charge in each daily activities, what lesson and values taught by each of the responsible adults, and what rules are given. This is an important step to do. Each individuals(responsible adults) has their own thought, ways and values to teach. In dealing with children, it is necessary for each individuals to be on the same page about what lessons are given to the children. Because if there are differences, children (even as young as 2 years old) may be able to the choose ways which they think giving more benefit for them. Again, this is when daily routine comes in handy. After planning who’s in charge in each daily activities, parents can discuss about what lessons need to be taught to children, values, rules and all things mentioned in point two. Through this way parents will have the same perception in dealing with children. It’s not only that, parents can consider the lesson and values children learn at school. If there are differences, discuss how to bridge or compromise with it and how to deliver it to children. So, the point is the same perception amongst responsible adults in dealing with children are very important. Yet, all adults must do their obligation. That’s why the responsibility must be shared. It can’t lay on one person only because children will look up all adults in their surrounding. Therefore, daily routine can become a handy tools in dividing adults involvement and making same perception in dealing with children.
There’s another advantage in putting same persons in charge in each daily activities. It will give more sense of security and stability for the children. This is even more important than the structure itself. It’s because good structure will be useless without the responsible and trustworthy adults. What it’s meant to children is like this. For example, a child (due to daily routine) knows that in the morning his mother always prepares food for him. So, he knows that in the morning he will get meal and he won’t be starving as long as his mother around. Every time, he sees his mother he’ll feel secure because unconsciously he knows he won’t be starving. The sense of security will make the child calm and happy. This feeling will make the child absorbs everything his mother taught or deliver smoothly, because he doesn’t have to deal with negative emotions such as panic or unhappy which can become obstacle in learning process.
In conclusion, basically daily routines schedule can be a handy tools in planning daily activities in details. These are very important in dealing with young children. Their fast pace development requires us to be ready in every situations and able to make quick and proper decisions in order not to harm their development. Therefore we need a structured plan. Daily routine schedule offers that.