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The Whole Child
It's the Little Things:
Daily Routines
abc's of child development
for parents
for early care providers
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Children thrive in a predictable environment, where mealtimes, nap times, separating from a parent, and toileting are dealt with consistently. Try to create a nurturing, flexible, and positive environment where your children's needs are met through their daily routines. Daily routines provide wonderful opportunities for your child to learn more about herself, the world, and other people. Daily routines offer children a sense of stability and a feeling of caring from their parents. Be sure that these routines are responsive to the individual needs of each of your children.

Separation Anxiety
There comes a point in almost every baby's life when she feels very strongly about being left by her parent. Often referred to as "separation anxiety," your child might sob frantically and seem inconsolable when separating from you. Your handling of separation anxiety is very important for your child's emotional well-being. Be sure to assure her with calm words and affection that you will return. Establish appropriate routines and responses that help your child overcome her fears. Security objects such as blankets or stuffed animals can help her feel comfortable.

Attachment
The way you handle daily routines is especially important for babies. Through such tasks as feeding and diapering, you communicate to your child that he can trust you and that you can be relied on to nourish and provide for him. This special bond of trust is called attachment. Be sensitive to your baby's cues and talk to him, even though he may not be speaking yet. Establish routines that are based on your baby's needs and try not to rush through daily tasks. Be sure to hold your baby during bottle feeding. Feeding is a wonderful opportunity to form warm, nurturing relationships.

Meal time and Snack time
Children prefer plain, familiar food they can eat with their fingers. It's important that snacks vary from day to day and that snacks, drinks, and desserts are nutritious. Children eat at their own pace. Some children eat more than others do. Eating should be a shared and cooperative experience with foods served family style. Mealtimes are opportunities for your children to be independent by making choices about foods.

Toileting
Through your handling of diaper changes, toilet-training, and self-toileting, your child will learn about her body, social customs, gender differences, and personal hygiene. It's important to convey a positive attitude to your child, being careful not to shame or humiliate her. Be sure to emphasize handwashing as a consistent part of the toilet routine.

Nap time and Bedtime
Nap time and bedtime can either convey warmth and security, or stress and turmoil to your child. Your child decides whether or not he sleeps, but you can create a relaxed environment. Sometimes it's hard for children to relax. You can help your child by setting a daily routine that is quiet, calm, and consistent. Try to create a restful mood by reading quietly, playing soothing music, and rubbing your child's back.

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The Whole Child     ABCs of Child Development     For Parents     For Early Care Providers