Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter is is the stress! Tip of The Week: Routines

There are places in the Midwest that are digging out from 20 plus inches of snow and subzero temperatures this week, both almost sure signs of a white Christmas. Added stress and enhanced beauty all rolled up into one!
 I for one am in awe of how beautiful the snow looks. I never tire of seeing the crisp white tree branches bending with the weight of the snow. I do tire though of winter driving. It is an added stress, especially this time of year when there are more errands to run and more social visiting than usual. Most times I enjoy the drive.  I have a 20-minute commute into town when the roads are not snow-covered.  It gives me pause to sort my mind, and reflect on my to do list.  Stress management experts say the commute (to work and home after) can actually be a healthy stress buster. It allows time to decompress, switch gears and get focused on a new task. So even though the price of gas is a stressor in the pocketbook, the longer commute can be a plus. That being said stress is everywhere and whether you have a long commute or roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and are on the job in less than 20 minutes there will be moments in your day that are more stressful than others. 
Children feel stress too. They may not tell you they are stressed out but changes in their behavior can be a signal that they have reached their limit. Environmental changes as well as emotional turmoil in the family can all have an effect on young children. Young children crave routines and predictability. The holiday season is a time when routines are changed, schedules are altered and regular bedtimes become nonexistent. This is all done with good intentions and in the spirit of the season.  This week's Tip offers some thoughtful advice on
helping preschoolers with routines.

Tip of the Week:

Toddlers and preschoolers crave routines.  It helps them anticipate what is next; create a sense of predictability and safety.

Two good tips when in come to preschoolers and routines are:
  • Tip--Planning ahead helps family members know what is going to happen next, so they can increase their confidence and level of cooperation.
  • Tip--The younger the child, the more important routines are as the focus of learning. Establishing routines in the following four area will be helpful:
      • Hellos and Good-byes
      • Diapering and Toileting
      • Eating and Mealtimes
      • Sleeping and Naptime

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