The Power of a Routine

Typical evening. Dinner eaten. Bath finished. Teeth brushed. Hair combed. Stories read. Prayers offered. Tickles given. Kisses shared. I gave M one last hug, and then I turned to W. “It’s night-night time,” I said, fully expecting him to continue toddling about the room during these last few moments of exploration and preparing myself to wrangle his little body for bedtime.  Instead, he turned towards the door and walked to his room waving his roly-poly hand over his shoulder so confident in his routine and so sure of what came next.

What a big moment.

Big because this fifteen month old cherub moves at rapid speed from one thing to the next all day long opening cabinets, moving objects to different places, and closing doors regardless if someone is in the room or not. Sometimes I wonder if he even knows which end is up. In that moment, however, I realized that indeed he does.

He knew exactly what to do and how to do it because of the routines implemented into his daily life. For the child this provides security, predictability, and structure. Because of that, he feels confident and self-assured: “I know what comes next, and I know how to do it.” The result is a feeling of empowered independence.

It was big for my guy to be able to listen to what I said and respond appropriately. Just think of everything he had to integrate: language, movement, balance, and social behaviors. He did it in an instant and off he went. I’ll admit I missed carrying him into his room, but holding onto his babyhood is my challenge not his. Instead I relished the fact that for those few moments, W was in charge of his world. And what a wonderful world it is.

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