Parenting with Pruett: Routines and Rituals, by Kyle D. Pruett, M.D., advisor to The Goddard School®
Ah, routines and rituals…such comforts against the one universal truth that life is nothing but change. Our children seem to get this sooner than we parents. When they struggle as infants to get the day and night thing down, they are teaching us how important and soothing the predictable is when tired, hungry, cranky and the like. As toddlers, we watch in amazement as they doggedly line up their shoes, trucks or dolls in the face of a little uncertainty and in search of the reassuring symmetry of order. These are not simple entertainments, but powerful and effective coping strategies that, if we are lucky, they never quite give up. Some of the uses of the psychological calendar of anticipation and predictability:
- By 18 months: Children know the routines of everyday life and are very reassured by them: dressing, mealtimes, play, school, bath time, and finally bedtime with a story and a kiss. These are an antidote to the uncertainties of this period of rapid growth.
- By 24 to 26 months: Children have a reliable sense of the week’s rhythms, and appreciate the difference between a weekday and a weekend.
- By 42 months: Children begin to anticipate the predictable patterns of the year and its changing seasons, family gatherings, holidays, and birthdays.
All the while they are soaking up the beginnings of culture and ethnic diversity in such vital rituals.
Routines and rituals are especially important (and sometimes hardest) to maintain when a child is ill, or the family is going through a stressful time. Routines around food, clothing, bathing, going to school and sleep can be soothing precisely because they don’t vary in the face of change. The ultimate routine or ritual is mealtime. Children learn about what matters in life in a regular, predictable, culture-rich and (one hopes) nutritious environment. Plan it and protect it.
Ultimately, they (and we) give up most of these early comforts, going the way of the blankie and binkie. The next generation of routine and ritual comforts owe their efficacy to these early and more primitive coping strategies. So honor and promote them while you may. They disappear all too soon.
Kyle D. Pruett, M.D. is an advisor for The Goddard School®. Dr. Pruett is an authority on child development who has been practicing child and family psychiatry for over twenty-five years. He is a clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale University’s Child Study Center.
Playing it Cool
When the summer sun blazes bright, children often spend more time outdoors–running, jumping, climbing, biking and being active. It is important to remember that physical activity in excessive heat can cause a variety of health issues including sunburn, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash. Below are a few tips that can help prevent your child from experiencing any of these heat-related illnesses. (Please note: If you feel that your child is experiencing symptoms of a heat-related illness, dial 911 and seek medical attention immediately.)
- If you are aware that the day is going to be excessively hot, try to limit outdoor play time to the morning and evening hours (before 10 am and after 4 pm).
- Sunglasses and hats with brims help protect against the sun’s harmful rays. Always apply a sunscreen with SPF 15 or above that protects against UVA and UVB rays before your child heads outdoors. Apply liberally and reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing should be worn in a single layer to help absorb and facilitate sweat evaporation. If your child should sweat through their clothing, have them change into a dry outfit before continuing their activity.
- Fluids, fluids, fluids! Children should be well hydrated before they go out to play and have access to drinking water while participating in outdoor activities.
- During prolonged outdoor activity, like a sports game or practice, children should be given frequent breaks (in 20-minute increments) to recover (in the shade) and rehydrate.
Make Your Own Ice Pops
Ice pops are perfect for a summer dessert or afternoon snack. Instead of purchasing them at the store, invest in an ice pop mold (or use small paper or plastic cups) and invite your little one into the kitchen to experiment with making your own. After you try the delicious recipes below, get creative and see what tasty flavors you can whip up!
Strawberry Lemonade Ice Pops
1 (12-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
3 cups cold water
1 (16-ounce) package frozen sliced strawberries
Prepare the lemonade as directed on the package. Place the frozen strawberries into a blender and puree them until smooth. If necessary, use some of the lemonade to help the strawberries blend. Stir the strawberry puree into the lemonade and pour the mixture into the ice pop molds. Freeze them until set.
1 package sugar-free pudding mix in the flavor of your choice
2 cups cold low-fat milk
2 cups low-fat Cool Whip
Prepare the pudding as directed on the package, using the 2 cups of cold low-fat milk. Mix in the 2 cups of low-fat Cool Whip and divide the mixture into ice pop molds. Freeze them until set.
*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.
Please join us for a special play date:
NJ Aquarium Visits
July 11, 2013
What Knot Farm Petting Zoo
July 17, 2013
July 22, 2013
July 25, 2013
July 31, 2013
240 W Swamp Road
Doylestown, PA 18901
The Goddard Schools are operated by independent franchisees under a license agreement with Goddard Systems, Inc. Programs and ages may vary. © Goddard Systems, Inc. 2012
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