Supporting children who need structure

I have been thinking this week about how important structure, routine and consistency are for children, especially children who may not have this at home. In the play room with me, children often create their own routine even though the sessions are child led and the children are allowed to choose what they would like to do, within the limits of the room. I have children who often do the same activity or play with the same thing at the start and end of the session, and this can last for several sessions, usually until a sense of trust is developed between us and the child feels more relaxed and safer with me.

So the next time a child finds it hard to manage a change in their routine, whether it’s the change of activity, person or room, try and acknowledge and name their possible feelings about this to enable them to feel more settled and secure. Try saying something like ” I know it’s really hard when things change and we are doing literacy when we usually do science, this may make us feel a bit worried or anxious, but we will do our science after lunch. Change can be difficult and may make us feel scared.” This can help to acknowledge the difference and enable children to understand some of the feelings they may be experiencing.


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