11 - 12 Months

Beyond the bedtime routine — why everyday rituals are important for your baby’s brain

Woman holding baby while pouring water into a glass from the kitchen sink

Babies thrive on everyday routines and rituals. Patterns in your child’s day are comforting; they help them 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 them think in more advanced ways. When they learn about order and sequence and can recognize patterns, they build more advanced thought processes like reasoning, judgment, and anticipation.

Your baby probably already has a bedtime routine that is special to your family, but there are many other predictable sequences in their 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.


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Posted in: 11 - 12 Months, Communication, Routine, Executive Function, Child Development

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