Babies thrive on everyday routines and rituals. Patterns in your child’s day are comforting to him because they help him understand and prepare for what’s going to happen next.
You might be surprised to hear that helping your baby tune into patterns also helps him think in more advanced ways. When he learns about order and sequence and can recognize patterns, he builds more advanced thought processes like reasoning, judgment, and anticipation.
Your baby already has a bedtime routine that is special to your family, but there are many other predictable sequences in his day as well. Think about what usually happens when you get into the car, change your baby’s diaper, go to the store, get a drink or say good-bye for the day. Name the steps before and as they are happening.
For example, you might say: “We are going (somewhere) in the car. First, we put on our shoes, then we get into the car seat, then ‘click!’ the buckle is snug.” You can name where you are in the sequence as you go along: “Look, your shoes are on. Now let’s get into the car seat…”
Adding fun sounds, songs, or goofy words specific to you—things you do most every time you get in the car, change your baby’s diaper, etc.—makes the sequence more memorable and meaningful for your baby.