For most children in child care programmes having a routine they can count on provides reassurance and a feeling of safety. For children who may have unpredictable lives outside of child care it is helpful to have a stable routine and classroom environment. You can create a sense of stability and security in your classroom in many ways.
Having rituals for the children to follow daily is often a successful method in providing what children need to manage through the day. You may even consider giving children the power to help choose specific rituals for certain times of the day. This may help in the children following the rituals and understanding why they are in place. For example ask the children what they think the routine should be for transition from lunchtime to snack time-with your help they will probably come up with some great ideas.
Transition times are usually the most difficult and stressful parts of the day in child care. A group of children are being asked to shift from one activity to another, and move from one task to another in a relatively short period of time. This lends itself to much movement- and for some children- opportunity! Some children have a particularly difficult time and react to any kind of confusion, lack of structure and/or chaos. Transition should be managed to promote independence, participation and an understanding of the days progress/sequence.
For instance, from the moment a child is dropped by their parent at a day care centre, they start experiencing transition. They transition from their parent to their caregiver, from familiar faces total strangers in the classroom.
However, the child must be helped through the process to gain confidence in themselves and in the process. Effective management of routines and transitions will educate the child about the different days that he/she must go through, doing different things and with different people.
A child will end up aware that from Mondays to Fridays he/she spends the day without his/her parents but with fellow children at the day care center under the supervision of a caregiver.
A regular routine fosters responsibility and independence because children will be able to perform more activities on their own if they have done the same activities many times before in the same environment.