Why Routines Matter for Preschoolers in Times of Emergency

Little child, sleeping soundly

Why Routines Matter for Preschoolers in Times of Emergency

Tragedies, natural disasters and other emergencies can dramatically alter our everyday lives. However, in these times of chaos and confusion, it is very important to maintain routines for preschoolers.

Young children thrive on rhythm and routine. Consistent schedules provide them with comfort and a sense of safety. This sense of emotional and physical well-being allows children to better learn and grow. In fact, it’s best to fill children’s days with sequences of easily anticipated events until they reach the age of 6 or 7.

When emergencies strike, routine becomes even more important to mitigating traumatizing effects on children. It’s up to parents and other caregivers to ensure children’s lives remain as routine as possible. You can do this through the following tips:

1. Keep sleep schedules and rituals intact as much as possible. Even if your family must evacuate your home and temporarily move to a shelter or hotel, enforce your child’s bed time and nap time with lots of love and cuddles before they drift off to sleep.

2. Maintain regular meal and snack times. Meal time is a nurturing time for young children. Regardless of where you are or of what’s going on in the world around you, observe consistent breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack times.

3. Take your child to school. In the aftermath of emergencies or disasters, it is best for your child to return to school, unless it would be unsafe to do so. Keeping her at home with you as you experience your own emotions of shock, anxiety and grief is not beneficial. Your child is better off observing her normal routine.

4. Reassure your child – and yourself. If your child shows signs of anxiety about separating from you to return to preschool, work with his teachers to remind him that he is safe. If you are feeling anxious, remember that keeping your child in his regular routine will help him feel secure.

Keeping consistent routines is the cornerstone of providing young children with a sense of safety and security. In times of disasters and emergencies, taking the above steps to maintain routines is one of the best things we as caregivers can do for our children.

What questions do you have about keeping consistent routines for your preschooler? Please share below!

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