No 6 in our series ‘Using positive discipline’: Routines
Babies follow their own programme and forcing a routine on them will only make them cry and be miserable. Baby will feel hunger and tiredness and the desire for cuddles at different times to when you are prepared to give them. You will not be attending to babies needs but rather to your own. And you are the grown up here! The one who can wait for their needs to be met...
So follow baby, allow sleep when s/he needs it , demand feeding and hold baby close as much as you can. This is the very start of positive discipline. Meeting baby’s needs. Your relationship will be closer, more loving and you will be far more connected with your little one. Baby will learn that the world is a good place and s/he is ‘good’ and worth being cared for very well. When baby becomes a child and then an adult s/he will be so much more alive to needs in others and will have empathy and sympathy which immediately create a better more socially appropriate person – a better behaved and self- disciplined person!
But as baby grows up to be a small child routines will be established which fit into his or her eating and sleeping needs. These routines can start suiting the family better and fit in more. Keeping to routine most of the time (don’t get too rigid either!) will make life so much more peaceful. One of the secrets to a well-run pre-school is routine as this is what makes the children easy to manage and prevents children becoming overwhelmed – and keeps them behaving well. Children want to please you– make it easy and rewarding to please you and you will have a very well behaved child almost all the time... this is one of the great secrets of positive discipline!
Things to remember all the time:
Toddlers need small regular meals. Try to keep these as regular as possible so that they don’t get overwhelmed by hunger. This always creates difficult ‘annoying’ behaviour.
Allow sleep times to become routine while remembering they will change as baby grows up. An over tired baby or child cannot cope with anything at all...and will be annoying! Try hard to get toddlers night time routine the same each evening and get him or her to bed early...you will have a child who does better at school later! Also, each evening you will be able to have a bit of much needed adult time.