Gaining a Full Understanding of Rigid Childcare Routines

Rigid routines are typically a hallmark of high-quality childcare facilities, but many parents worry that these schedules may annoy their child or even stifle their creativity. That is not the case: rigid routines in a childcare facility are actually highly beneficial to the child.

Why Routines Matter in Childcare Settings

Childcare experts agree that routines in any childcare setting (whether it's daycare, babysitting, or even taking care of your child at home) are absolutely essential for your child's well-being. Why? Professionals offer a variety of explanations as to why a rigid set of routines isn't stifling for a child but beneficial:

  • Consistency is an important feeling for children—it makes them feel safe and secure in your role as an adult and caregiver
  • Routines give them things to look forward to—when children know what the day is going to bring, they approach it with excitement
  • The unknown makes them anxious—if a child is uncertain of what is going to happen in a day, they get bored, restless, and anxious
  • Routines create a feeling of trust between you and the child—knowing that they are going to get food at a certain time, play at another time, and watch a movie after that gives children the feeling that they can trust you as a caregiver

Routines Will Vary Depending on the Child's Age

One aspect that is important to remember is the fact that routines will vary depending on the child. Younger children (such as those at the infant age) are going to need frequent naps and snacks set to their own internal schedule. Here's an area where caregivers are typically a little more lenient: if a child isn't ready to nap, they'll rarely force them to nap.

Group-time and alone-time needs will also be balanced depending on the child's age. Very young children (those under two) often prefer spending all their time with you or in a group. Children older than that usually enjoy a period of alone time. A good childcare setting will have scheduled group and solo play times that encourage children to interact in a variety of ways.

Understanding a Typical Childcare Routine

Although all childcare routines will vary depending on the center, they typically follow this simple schedule. The first hour or so (from about 7 to 8 am) will be arrival time, followed by self-directed play and breakfast. After breakfast, group activities are encouraged, including singing songs, listening to stories, and doing a group activity.

Half an hour later, craft time and snack time follow. At that point, it's usually pushing 10 o'clock, so bathroom needs are attended to before kids engage in outdoor play. Outside play is a great way for children to burn excess energy and get ready for lunch, which takes place at around noon.

After a brief story and another bathroom break, nap time for those who are ready takes place for a few hours. Quiet time for those not sleeping takes place around them, as well as activities for older children (such as doing puzzles and block construction).

The rest of the day (from about 3 to 5 pm) consists of bathroom breaks, snacks, and self-directed and outdoor play before pickup. As you can see, this type of schedule keeps your child busy, gives them time to have a lot of fun, and works to create a consistent set of behaviors that will help them grow as a child.

Check out childcare centers like Carousel Of Learning Pre-School & Nursery to learn more.