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RITUALS AND ROUTINES: Supporting Infants and Toddlers and Their Families

The words routine and ritual are sometimes used interchangeably. Yet there are some important differences. Routines are repeated, predictable events that provide a foundation for the daily tasks in a child’s life.

by Linda Gillespie and Sandra Petersen

Josh brings Eliana, 20 months, into the family child care provider’s home. Sherita greets Josh and Eliana with a warm “Good morning!” Eliana buries her head in her father’s shoulder. Sherita pats Eliana on the back and says, “It feels so good to snuggle with Daddy.” Josh tells Sherita how Eliana slept and what she had for breakfast. Eliana peeks at Sherita, and Sherita says, “I see you looking at me! Come, let me hold you while Daddy leaves for work. You know what to do: give him a kiss and a hug, and then we will go to the window. Watch—when Daddy gets to the car, he’s going to turn around and wave to you.” Eliana watches for her daddy to turn around and wave, then waves back.

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