Caring Routines (Infant/Toddler)
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Daily routines can provide valuable time for bonding and interaction. By making them fun, interesting and interactive, these everyday routines can become important learning experiences.
1. Make Routines Fun
Attending to an infant/toddler’s needs can be a lot of work. Finding fun in daily routines can make them a more pleasurable experience for caregivers and children alike! Make a game out of feeding and diapering by singing songs, doing finger plays, and/or telling a story throughout.
2. Keep Routines Consistent
Consistent routines can help small children to regulate their bodies. Try to keep to a predictable daily schedule, especially in regard to the timing of basic needs like rest and meals. Plan any special events or out-of-the-ordinary activities around these times.
3. Involve Children in Routines
Actively involve small children in basic routines such as feeding and diapering. Using pictures and words, walk them through each step of the process. Have them be “helpers” by giving them tasks such as holding the diaper, holding the bottle, etc.
4. Be Flexible
Keep in mind that not all children in your care will be on the same time schedule. While it is important to follow a general structure of activities each day, you may need to be flexible with your schedule in order to synchronize with their body clocks. Find out how and when feeding and sleeping routines are carried out at home to predict their needs, and adjust your timing in response to their cues.
5. Help Children Through Stress
Even consistent and predictable routines can be stressful for infants and toddlers. Some unavoidable daily activities such as diaper changes involve intimate body contact and sensations that may be uncomfortable for them. Reassure and comfort them throughout the process by speaking gently, moving at their pace, and describing what you are doing.