Why do children enjoy repetition so much?

Baby & Toddler - Guide with tips for parents of children up to five years

Rituals structure everyday life and give children security and security.

Rituals are defined as certain behaviors that follow a fixed scheme and clear rules and that become more and more familiar to us due to the repetition. Parents often perform rituals unconsciously or simply adopt them from their childhood. Rituals give the child support from an early age: whether the wake-up ritual in the morning, the table saying at lunch or the bedtime ritual - the child can rely on these elements of everyday life to always accompany them.
Children in particular who are difficult to find their way around in terms of time benefit from a guide for the day and find their way around better. Rituals help children even in times of crisis. If a child is injured, a "heal, heal blessing" makes the pain much more bearable. In the morning, rituals help to get the child out of the house on time. A transition ritual makes it easier to enter a new phase, for example a small farewell ritual in the day care center, the play group or in the kindergarten.

Goodbye power struggles

Rituals help limit discussions at the dining table. When a child knows that they are only allowed to eat after they have washed their hands, everyone is sitting at the table, sang a table song, has held each other's hands or wished good appetite, the meal starts more relaxed. When going to bed, rituals help to avoid power struggles with the child in the evening. The mother adviser Christine Schaub from Basel says: "A structured process in the evening - eating, quiet play, evening toilet, reading - helps the child to prepare for the night." That leads to fewer discussions, because they can indulge in sleep so trustingly and know that everything will still be okay tomorrow.

What to consider

As early as the sixth month of life, children get used to sleep rituals very strongly. Christine Schaub therefore recommends: “Parents should opt for rituals that they want to keep for a long time and be aware that babies often wake up briefly at night and often ask for the same sleep ritual as they do in the evening because they haven't yet calm down yourself. " If a baby only falls asleep in the mother's arms while she is jumping on a medicine ball, she wants to be held that way every evening and even in the middle of the night - when it wakes up. It is therefore more sensible to design the evening ritual in such a way that the child learns to fall asleep independently very early. It is ideal if the parents can take turns doing the evening ritual. This is how the child falls asleep even when one of the parents is not at home.

Finally the end of the day

Children enjoy the care and attention they receive from their parents during the evening ritual. Many toddlers therefore try to prolong the ritual, for example by hearing a second story or wanting to drink another sip of water. Christine Schaub advises: "So that the parents have something to do with after work, they should limit the time for the evening ritual." Extended evening rituals, in which one parent disappears for a long time or even falls asleep in the nursery, are often the cause of relationship problems.

Info: rituals are timers

For children, rituals related to holidays such as Easter, Christmas or birthdays are very important. They set points of orientation throughout the year.

Tips: How to change a ritual

Does your child only fall asleep when you are carrying them around, cradling them in your arms or lying with them? Do you find the evening ritual you introduced to be laborious and want to change it? Note that children are slow to get used to changing rituals. Proceed like this:

1. Dismantle the active sleep aid (weighing, carrying around).
2. Reduce body contact.
3. Give your child a plush toy or a nuschi.
4. Sit quietly next to the child.
5. Do something in the room or go out.

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