You're listening to Voices of Your Village. This is episode 165. Today we're talking about routines and don't mix this up with schedules, we'll go into the difference in this episode. But routines are crucial for our regulation both as adults and kids when we know what to expect, when we know what's coming next it helps our nervous system feel regulated and calm. We're going to chat about about how you can implement routines with your kiddos, how to change a routine and what happens when your kiddo pushes a boundary or has some big behaviors about routines. All right folks. Let's dive in.
Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell.
When people reach out and they're saying that they're hearing boundary-pushing or big behaviors from kids. One of the first questions that I ask is tell me more about your routines for the day. What is your daily routine look like? So often when we're seeing a lot of boundary-pushing or huge behavior, like challenges or meltdowns or tantrums. There aren't concrete routines for kiddos. Let's chat about what this really means and why it's important. Routines for me, it's not like a schedule. It's not like okay at 9:15 this happens and it 9:45 this happens. You don't have to be committed to a clock for routines. It's more a general flow for the day. So looking at like okay every morning when we wake up. Here's the expectation. We are going to get up and we might snuggle for a little bit and read and then have some breakfast. Maybe we're going to get dressed and then you might watch a show while I get my breakfast ready or have some coffee that's hot maybe clean up from breakfast that we made and then we're going to move our bodies. We're going to do a sensory rich activity. We're gonna swing on a swing or jump into a pillow pile then maybe we're going to head outside, we're going to get our stuff on and go outside and play. Maybe we're going to library or to the playground. We're guiding kids through what to expect when we have concrete consistent routines. Again, not that like at 9:18 every day. This is what we're doing. But that this is the general flow for the day when we have that it provides a sense of safety and security because we know what's coming next. If it's always changing and you don't know what's coming next for kiddos, it's very dysregulating. Their brain is constantly trying to figure out what to expect. It's really taxing on the organizational planning component of sensory regulation because they're constantly trying to figure out like all right at what point are we going to go outside? I wonder what when we're going to have breakfast. When do we change our clothes? When is it time to jump in a pillow pile? Concrete consistent routines provide safety and stability? It doesn't have to be rigid. It's something that you can say. Oh, man. The library is closed today. That's where we were planning to go. I wonder if we should go to the playground or we should go on a hike. Hmm. What do you think? These can change they can ebb and flow. One of the greatest things we can do for kids is give them a visual schedule so they don't have to keep it all in their brain. We use visual aids all the time as adults. We have clocks and to-do lists and calendars and all these things that help us organize information for kids we're often like just remember! And we can give them more support.
When we provide them with a visual schedule. Then they can reference it. We can reference it. If we have to move something around we can. We have a visual schedule, transition schedule we call it, for the day up on our shop if you head to seedandsew.org and go to our shop then you can snag ours if you'd like, you can create your own it doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just something to let them know what the expectation is when I'm setting up a visual schedule I tend to do it in two chunks, the first half of the day and then the second half of the day so it doesn't look so overwhelming kind of like what's going to happen from now until nap time and then after nap what's the expectation.
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I also really love to use timers when we're talking about routines because it's going to let kiddos know our timeline expectation. Remember we're never using timers as threats. It's always to communicate openly when we don't use timers. We often have a timeline expectation. We just aren't communicating it. So we might say, all right, we're going to clean up and get ready to go outside and they don't know that we mean now, five minutes, 10 minutes, but when we can use a timer and say, all right guys, it's almost time to go outside. We're going to clean up our toys in five minutes. I'll set the timer and when it beeps will clean up and then get our stuff on to go outside. We're letting them know and giving them a visual aid that they can look at if your kid can tell time, awesome, you can reference a clock. If your kid can't tell time yet like most kids in early childhood. You can use a timer. Our favorite timer is the time timer. It just gives a visual, when you turn the dial on it the amount of time that's remaining is red. So they can see the red gets shorter and shorter smaller and smaller as we get closer to the timer beeping. We've had so many people reach out and be like, oh my gosh, I started using a timer and it's been amazing that when we use it not as a threat, but instead just saying. Alright, let's set the timer and sometimes I'll ask kids. Would you like to set the timer for three minutes or five minutes? Giving them some ownership in that time and they can help you set it and the time timer also you can stand it up, you can hang it or it has a magnet so it's very versatile. There are different sizes as well so you can have them like more on the go or more just at home. A sand timer can work great for this too. But making sure that we are communicating with them with a visual that they can reference.
When kiddos know what to expect there's less boundary-pushing. We see it throughout the day. We see it in sleep routines a lot when kids are pushing the boundaries around sleep. We're always going to ask you. What's your routine? If it's consistent they learn what to expect, kind of like Pavlov's dog. We talk about how we're always conditioning kids and we're conditioning them with our response. When you do this, I will do this. We are letting them know what to expect all the time. We're all conditioned humans and they can start to learn things. Like oh after we read two books and the sound machine goes on in the lights go off then it's sleep time. Their body will literally get these cues like Pavlov's dog, and we noticed this too in adulthood. If you pay attention to what's your typical morning routine, you can probably do a lot of it without thinking maybe pouring your coffee into the cup and grabbing milk to toss in it we go through so many steps without having to think consciously because it's a part of our conditioning. It's a part of our subconscious and when we have concrete routines and habits, it's really helpful for us because we're not having to constantly be like, okay, how do I pour the coffee into the mug? Then what do I do next? It becomes second nature for you and with concrete routines this is the same thing for kiddos. So many of these things become second nature.
There are so many important factors that go into a child being able to independently fall asleep. So many steps that come before a child just independently falling asleep on their own. We put together a free guide for you that is five things to do before teaching your child to fall asleep independently. So that you can support them in doing this successfully. Head on over to seedandsew.org/independentsleep to snag your free guide for five things to do before teaching your child to fall asleep independently. We want to support them with some foundations before helping them with this new skill head to seedandsew.org/independentsleep to snag your free guide today.
When I was teaching in early childhood, I would have parents who would be like, how do you get them out the door or back in when you have like nine toddlers and we're sunscreening everyone or we're putting all the snow gear on and it doesn't mean it's easy, but the kids know exactly what to expect because we do the same thing every time and so it wasn't something that they were constantly having to like push a boundary or ask what's the expectation because they knew the expectation. We were consistent with those routines of how to get out the door. It was never a negotiation because they knew what to expect. The first few times of a new routine, usually pretty challenging. The kiddo's going to ask do you mean it?How about now? Is this still the rule on Saturday? Is this the same routine when grandma's over? It's their job to ask those questions and it's our job to say yeah bud same routine. And so we expect that for the first especially three days of a new routine. If you do it consistently for three days, but generally for the like week to two weeks, you're going to see a little boundary-pushing some pushback and when you're consistent and you are regulated and can show up consistently with them and let them know Yep. This is the expectation. This is going to be the routine. Then they learn okay cool and it provides that safety and security of knowing what's coming next but at first it can be a little dysregulating for them because they don't know. This is a routine that's going to stick or it might feel outside of the norm for them and might feel like something different. So when you're creating a new routine, that's absolutely something we should expect. As you're outlining your routine, make sure you're building in those sensory rich activities every couple hours. This will really help especially with transitions. If a kiddo has been able to pour into that sensory bank and make a deposit then the withdrawal that happens through a transition can be easier to for them to manage. It doesn't feel so overwhelming. If sensory rich activities, if those three words together felt new to you. You can head to the link in my bio over at Instagram at seed.and.sew and snag our free list of sensory rich activities and it'll guide you through what I mean by this what that looks like. You can also tune in to episode 156 with Dr. Shanker to learn more about sensory rich activities in the sensory systems and self-regulation. We have a deeper dive there. All right, folks head on over to our shop to snag our transition schedules or make your own, please, please please take a picture and share this on social media and tag seed.and.sew I want to see you using your schedules and how you're using them. I want to hear how it's going, same with your visual timers, any visual aids, I love to hear from you and how it's going and what challenges might be coming up. Remember this should be something that is helpful for you not overwhelming. So do not over think it. It does not have to be Pinterest perfect. Any visual aid that communicates what to expect throughout that chunk of the day is helpful. Snap that picture, share it over on Instagram, tag seed.and.sew. I cannot wait to cheer you on in this journey. Good luck my friends.
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