I've noticed over my two and a half years of parenting that children do not like spontaneous adventure! At least not as young ones. Amelia is starting to like surprises and drastic shifts in our day. Only if it means fun though! Otherwise, it's meltdown city up in here if the days are not consistent or predictable!
Before having children, I would keep a planner on me at all times. Whatever I had going on in my week would be written down... with pencil in case something changed. Then I could erase it and everything would look pretty still. There were usually no surprises for me. Shortly after having Amelia, it became evident that I just couldn't do planning this way anymore. It didn't work. I eventually started utilizing my phone's calendar. This has been super helpful for me since then.
The funny part about me is that I really do thrive on schedule and order. But in my parenting, I don't feel like I'm that way. At least not on purpose. Our girls have never been scheduled sleepers or eaters. However, we have always paid attention to their patterns. I've jotted down a rough schedule numerous times and this helps me stay in tune with them. I guess we're child-led-scheduled. Is that even a thing? Anyway, all that to say we have a routine in our day. From waking up and meals to naps and our activities.
One super simple example is that with any change in our day, I give Amelia transition time. We use a timer system to accomplish this. I will give Amelia a warning like I'm setting my timer for three minutes. When it goes off, we need to clean up those toys. Then we will have our snack. Or any other one of the millions of little transitions throughout our day. It's not fool proof. But the majority of the time, when she hears the timer and hears me say, "The timer is going off! What does that mean?" she will respond positively and transition well.
This idea of consistency isn't just important for the daily schedule of life. I've found that this is key in discipline as well. For instance, we have a rule in our house that if you make a mess, you clean it up. Amelia is old enough to understand this. If sometimes I get mad and clean it up for her and other times, I gently remind her where she can find towels, she's going to be confused and frustrated. Does anybody like a frustrated toddler? I don't see any hands. Yeah ok, me neither.
I don't think I need to dive much more into this concept. I just want this short and sweet post to be a reminder of the importance of consistency as we guide our kiddos throughout their day.