Parenting Routine or no routine? Consider these four points before you make a...

Routine or no routine? Consider these four points before you make a decision.

2016 Feb 22

Establishing a good balance between routine and spontaneity in a child’s life can be rather challenging for parents. As newborns we may observe them to be rather random in their hours of wakefulness, feeding and sleep. However, it doesn’t take a parent long to understand that almost all infants slide into a good routine provided we facilitate it. The routine may incorporate a two hour feeding interval with about half an hour of wakefulness, followed by sleep before feeding time starts again.

As months, progress into years and infants become toddlers, you may find that your child still needs a good routine to stay refreshed and content. Sleep we find, is important even at this point. But the question arises as to whether or not such routine need be strictly followed. If you are like most parents, you have experienced times when you have had to take your toddler out and realized that he is cranky because he has missed a nap. You are faced with a dilemma. Do you leave the occasion and attend to your toddler’s nap schedule or stay on and endure your toddler’s crankiness? Let’s consider some thoughts and then you may find the answer to this question.

  • Routines ensure the right amount of sleep for a growing child –

routine 1

At each developmental stage, the required hours of sleep variates. Beginning at a 16 hour daily sleep requirement for a new born, we find the hours dropping as the child grows. However, sleep remains an essential part of his growth for a long time. Following a good schedule, will help you fulfill this need for your child.

  • Routines help good bowel movement –

routine 2

You may find that food at the right intervals instead of haphazard feedings along with good sleep schedules and play time, in fact help the processes involved in eliminating waste from our systems. On the contrary, you may find that when routines are broken, these processes get disrupted and create some amount of strain for you and your young one.

  • Routines create pressure for caretakers

Mother holding her crying baby

For parents with young children, maintaining a good schedule for your young ones can sometimes be impossible. We need to face the fact that life does not always come in scheduled packages. Sudden changes are likely to occur. A friend who wants to make a surprise visit, an unscheduled power cut, a sudden bout of sickness in the household. At times such as these, the thought of following a routine can be quite cumbersome not to mention impossible.

  • Routines may hinder other forms of development

routine 4

As much as a child’s physical development is an area that needs much focus, we should not undermine the importance of development in other areas. Flexibility to change, positive attitudes to change, and spontaneity are some very real assets to us as adults in this ever evolving universe. How then, can we not see the importance of helping our children develop these attributes in their childhood?

There can be various other points stated in this cause. But how do we take sides on this debate? Like all other aspects of parenting, I believe the answer is within you. While ensuring that your child receives a positive routine that helps him grow, you may also want to consider encouraging a positive response to change. If he doesn’t get the required amount of sleep and becomes cranky, consider showing him another response. Remember, that most times our young children mirror our own emotions. The key then is for you to have a positive attitude to such changes.

Joanne Sathyadass has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism, Psychology and English Literature from the University of Bangalore now serving as a Special Needs Educator

For any queries please email Joanne on


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