Establish routines to let your child know what to expect and how to behave. This helps avoid and reduce behavior problems.
Routines help infants learn to anticipate what will be happening next and to understand sequences of events. The repetition of routines encourages your baby's memory development, and the consistency helps her adjust to a regular schedule. Consistent patterns for feeding, diaper changes, bedtime, bathing, and getting dressed become familiar to your baby. Familiarity helps soothe and reassure her. Use these routines to talk to your child and tell her what you're doing. Even if she cannot understand your words, the sound of your voice comforts her, and she pays attention to the pitch and sounds of what you say. This encourages her language development. Routines create a comforting environment for your child that makes her feel safe and loved. Knowing that you will be there for her when she needs you gives your child more confidence to explore and try new things.
- Make diaper changes and other routines fun by counting your baby's toes, gently tickling her tummy, and using your voice and facial expressions to keep your baby's attention.
- Between 3 and 6 months, your child's sleeping habits will become more regular, and she will be able to go for longer periods of time without awakening. Creating a soothing bedtime routine helps your baby learn to comfort herself and to return to sleep after waking up.
- Reading to your child regularly before bed is a wonderful way to spend time together before she sleeps. Making this routine will help your baby know when it is time for bed. Reading also encourages your child's language development.
- Between 6 and 9 months, your baby will begin to have an eating routine and a routine for soiling diapers. While daily feedings and diaper changes may seem tedious to you, they are wonderful learning times for your child. Talk to your child and tell her what you are doing. Make it fun! This is how she learns.
- As your child's sleep schedule changes, continue to maintain your bedtime routine. This will encourage her to go to sleep at a regular time and to return herself to sleep if she wakes up.
- Your child learns by repetition. Dropping a ball again and again helps her learn what happens when it hits the ground, where it goes, and what sound it makes. Games like peek-a-boo and patty-cake help your child learn about cause and effect, and they promote memory development. Repetition will also help your child as she learns to stand and walk. Trying again and again teaches her muscles how to work together and makes them stronger.
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