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Eat, sleep, play repeat: How repetition helps your child to learn

Our weekly columnist, Kirsty McCabe, discovers that while routine might be boring it can mean repaing great parenting rewards

Posted: 4 March 2015
by Catherine Hudson

Things are better with two

Kids love routine. Routine and repetition. Which means lunch at the same time every day, the favourite book at bedtime, read at least twice, games of peek-a-boo until you lose your voice, and completing the jigsaw puzzle, taking it apart, then doing it again!

Yes, I know. It’s how they learn. Doesn’t stop it driving me mad sometimes! But as it turns out, two can play at this game. So when we recently moved house and the boys started a new nursery school, the quickest way to get them happily settled in was to make full use of routine and repetition. Oh and a wee bit of bribery never goes amiss.

Step one was to familiarise the boys with their new nursery before we moved house. We were trying to avoid changing too many things at once. So in order to smooth the transition the boys spent a couple of days at the new nursery then the rest of the time back at the old one.

Turns out this wasn’t the best plan as they found the 'to-ing and fro-ing' quite unsettling. In other words, they couldn’t work out the routine. Once we got them into the new nursery full time, it was all fine. Then when we moved house shortly after they were very excited that they could walk, scoot or ride bikes to the new nursery instead of being bundled into the car.

To make the journey to nursery even more exciting Logan got an Avigo ride-on motorbike from Toys 'R' Us. Mainly because the 'hand-me down' one from his big brother had seen better days but also to make all the new stuff going on in his life feel like a good thing.

The good things continued at meal times. Before we moved, there wasn’t enough space to have proper high chairs around the table so I compromised with some great booster cushions. But in the new house I couldn’t wait to get the boys their own Stokke Tripp Trapp highchairs. Now they can get on and off the chairs by themselves (except when we lock Logan in with the baby seat!) and we’ll be able to use them for years to come.

Of course, everyone has to have their own designated chair and sit in a particular place at every meal (so that’s Mummy’s seat nearest the fridge). Guess we’re making up new routines as well as keeping some old ones.

The first routine every child is soon introduced to is the night-time routine: the classic trio of bath, book and bedtime. If you are ever debating what present to get a newborn then you can’t go wrong with a nice bath towel. These will always be used many times.

My kids love hooded towels so to celebrate the first bath in the new house out came their new special personalised dinosaur large hooded towels, by Hooded Owls. I’m pretty sure boys never grow out of the dinosaur phase.

Have you had success with routine? Share your top tips below... 

Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine every week to join in with the conversation

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