Routines are considered a sequenced schedule that are regularly structured, organized, and followed. Routines are beneficial in early development since it gives children a sense of certainty, security, and helps them develop self- discipline. It also helps children understand time, establishes important habits, and strengthens relationships. Routines can be fun, exciting, and do not have to be a record player on repeat. Incorporating different themes and activities in designated time frames can add variation.
Children, just like adults, handle things best when it is expected and occurs in the context of a familiar routine. The unknown can be unpredictable, intimidating, and make the child uncomfortable. A predictable routine allows children to feel protected and gives them an opportunity to develop a sense of mastery in handling their lives. Children typically provide positive feedback when given a chance to take charge of their own activities and demonstrate some independence. Kids who have a sense of autonomy and do not need constant reminders are less likely to rebel and become oppositional. In a therapeutic preschool program, it is important to acknowledge and praise children regularly for being the smart and creative individuals that they are. A therapeutic preschool program will also typically follow a routine that expands and challenges the abilities and knowledge of kiddos on a regular basis. Creating a fun routine for children also allows them to learn the concept of “looking forward” to things they enjoy since it is typical to have preferences of activities.
Some typical activities included in the daily routine in a therapeutic preschool program might include free play, circle time, snack, gross motor activities, music, art, or storytime. Typically, children learn to adjust fairly quickly to the expectations and routines of a therapeutic preschool program. Setting a routine with a variety of different activities throughout the day also helps to reinforce transition skills, as children will shift from one task to another many times throughout the day. Many children greatly benefit from this type of structure, as a daily routine establishes boundaries and guidelines. A daily routine in a therapeutic preschool program also teaches children good habits and creates a more efficient day. While routines are helpful, it is important to incorporate the needs of the child always and accommodate when necessary based on individual necessities. For example, some children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or developmental delays may require accommodations to their daily schedule, especially if they experience sensory processing issues.
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