• cognitive development: the process of knowing, thinking, reasoning, and remembering
  • emotional development: the ability to recognize, identify, produce, and respond to emotions in yourself or others
  • language/linguistic development: the process of developing language skills to understand when others speak and to speak and engage in conversation
  • physical development: the ability to perform physical activities that require motor skills like running, jumping, and climbing
  • self-regulation: regulating or controlling one’s emotions, thinking, and behavior
  • social competencies: the skills needed for successful social interaction; in young children these include making simple decisions, interacting with others in productive ways, and being able to resolve conflicts in appropriate ways.
  • social development: the ability to use appropriate social skills to communicate and interact with others

Establish Routines

Before watching this video, read the text below. When instructed, watch the video from the beginning to end.

Young children thrive in an environment built around predictable routines.

  • Communicating with families at morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up gives children a sense of collaboration, partnership, and trust between parents/guardians and educators. 
  • Posting and following a daily schedule helps children feel safe and in control, and helps them develop independence as they use it to prepare for what’s ahead.
  • Announcing events before they happen promotes mental preparedness and self-control. Children know what to expect of the group and can transition from one activity to the next more easily.
  • Having consistent rules and routines helps children develop self-regulation and independence. When the same rules apply inside or outside, from center to center, and from educator to educator, children learn about boundaries and how to meet expectations. 

Watch as Maria and Laurie explain how schedules and routines foster their children’s learning and growth—socially, emotionally, physically, linguistically, and cognitively. As you watch, look for effective strategies used by the educators in the video and jot down answers to these viewing questions in your Learning Log.

  • What do you notice about the routines that are in place?
  • How do the educators help children with transitions?


Why are routines and procedures beneficial to young children?

  • Children need routines, procedures, rules, and transitions that are thoughtful and consistent. When children follow a schedule, they know what to expect from their day and can better self-regulate.

How can educators help children understand routines and procedures?

  • Create and post a schedule that stays the same from day to day. A posted schedule with pictures helps foster independence. Children can look to the schedule on their own to find out what is coming up.
  • Teach procedures for daily events. Knowing and following the procedures for events that happen each day; i.e., drop-off, snack time, nap time, pick-up, etc., helps children develop independence and self-control. They can feel pride when they hang up their backpacks, check their cubbies, or choose a place for resting—all on their own. Independence, self-control, and pride are all building blocks for developing social competency.

How can educators use rules to support routines?

  • Establish consistent rules. Rules help children develop social boundaries. When the same rules apply to all children, inside or outside, from learning center to learning center and from educator to educator, children learn what to expect from a group of children, a peer, a teacher, and themselves.
  • Communicate about rules with families. Daily communication with parents/guardians creates a sense of family partnership, collaboration, and trust—especially when positive behaviors and attitudes shown by children are communicated. 

How can educators support children with transitions that occur throughout the day?

  • Help children understand transitions. Announce and prepare children for events before they happen. This helps children to mentally prepare to finish the current activity and move on to the next one.


Think about the learning environment at your own program as you answer these reflection questions in your Learning Log.

  • What routines do you already have in place? How are they working?
  • What structures are in place to help children know what is coming up next?
  • What did you learn that you might incorporate into your program?
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