Creatures of Habit

14 September, 2020

Written by Angela Bush

Bachelor of Education (ECE), Diploma of Nursing, Diploma of Teaching (ECE)

Let's face it - We are all creatures of habit (whether we like it our not). When it comes to the daily things that we all do (brushing our teeth, showering, getting ready for work) we all tend to follow a pattern or habit that we have established over time. Humans by nature, like to perform out daily routines in the same order, and our movements are often performed on auto pilot.

Think about the routine you follow when you have to shower. If you break it down in to steps, you will likely find that you perform this daily routine in the same order every time;

Turn on the shower to warm it up, take off my clothes, put my right hand into the shower to test the temperature, step in and turn my face into the water, run my hands over my hair to wet it all the way through, turn around to wet my back and the rest of my body to get warm and wet, reach for the soap - you get the idea.

The same movements, in the order, EVERYDAY!

If this habit or routine is interrupted, it tends to throw us off balance. Sometimes, we can spin into a bit of a melt down if our routine is affected, even in only the smallest way. And then the flow on effect of that minor interruption to a daily routine can turn the rest of our day into a continued "stubbing of toes on the corner of the bed" kind of day.

It is exactly the same for our infants and toddlers. EXACTLY!

We need to remember how important routines and rituals are for the children in our care. Magda Gerber (RIE) taught us that predictability contributes to a more co-operative child who actively participates in their care routines. Children who have predictable, consistent care are generally more relaxed, co-operative and healthy in mind, body and spirit.

For any children that you care for do you;

  • Carry out care routines in the same order everyday?
  • Do the same things, in the same order during care times?

When i change your nappy - do i attend to it the same way, and invite your participation the same way every time?

When i give you a bottle or breast feed - do i perform this routine in the same order, and hold you, and sit in the same position that i know you prefer?

When i take you for a sleep - do i follow the same ritual every time - change your nappy, wrap you in my arms and sway gently as i sing you a quiet lullaby on the way to the room; lay you gently in the bed on your back, smile at you and say "sleep well e hoa",  place the blanket gently over your body with my hand on your heart, take a deep breath, turn and walk out of the room?

Predictability, Consistency and Order = Inner calm and Hauora (holistic wellbeing) for children and the adults caring for them.

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