Whenever your child moves into a new and unfamiliar situation, such as a returnee, a new level, program or school, its important to pass on information about your child’s routine to the new carers involved.
We have already discussed how routine is the key to your child's self confidence. In this post we will further elaborate on the importance of synchronizing your child's routine with other people who care for your child. This includes your child’s Grandparents, Preschool and Child sitter (nanny).
It is particularly important for very young children (particularly returnees) that routines between carers are coordinated.
Children who are returnees face major disruption to their routine. Their whole world is literally turned upside down, not simply a few aspects of their routine. While it is important to limit the damage done to any child's routine, it is the returnee child who will benifit the most from their careers efforts to get them back into their former routine as quickly as possible.
As care starts in the place we call home lets consider the transition from home to preschool as an example. When a young child is placed in Preschool Care the switch from home to the facility will be made easier if the Preschool can accommodate for the same routines that are used in the home. While Preschools will have their own particular timing for things such as snacks, sleeping, toileting etc, you need to find a school that understands your child's differing routine and is willing to be flexible so that your child has time to adjust. For example your child may need more or less sleep initially than the regular Preschool nap time. The school needs to take into consideration you child’s initial home sleeping routine and allow for adjustments until the routines at home and at school are the same. For kids of returnee families where time Zones differ from that of Japan you will need to shift your childs new home sleeping patterns gradually so that the can be brought in line with that of the school.
Preschool carers need to be mindful in how they provide for your child by planning routines together so that things are done in the same way and therefore do not confuse your child. If one carer has your child sleep in one direction and another carer a different direction, then your child will be confused and will find it difficult to sleep. If one carer gets your child to pack away lunch and another does it for her, you child may be unsure of the routine. When it comes to kids and daily routine, things need to be done in exactly the same way to ensure consistency, certainty, security and confidence. This is particularly important for very young children. As they mature they then become able to handle change in a gradual manner.
Where returnee children are concerned, we need to remember that literally everything has changed. Therefore a solid, coordinated, regular and consistent routine is of paramount importance.
Important routine resources include food and drink. As the human body is made up of 90% water, adequate drinking water is particularly important for young children (as well as adults) in the summer months. At our school we monitor this level carefully and give families the opportunity to check that their child is getting adequate drinking water everyday. Schools need to be particularly mindful of this need during hot summer outings.
When it comes to other routine resources such as clothing, factors of weather and the routine itself obviously need to be considered. In most cases we are very flexible, however we will remove tight clothing during times of rest if we think they are restrictive and sometimes we will request clothes that are easy to remove if your child is in toilet training. Clothing choices are often personal so our staff are trained to be sensitive in this regard.