Children and Routine


There are a lot of psychological reasons why routine is good for children, just one of them being the fact that in uncertain times, routines can calm anxiety and promote the feeling of safety.

If I had any doubt about that statement before – which I didn’t, but if I did – Asher, my 2-year old grandson has convinced me of its truth.

Asher has developed a bedtime routine from which he doesn’t like to deviate. A few weeks ago I had  the pleasure of taking care of him for the evening while his parents were away. Bedtime came, I  knew the routine, and had every reason to believe that that things would go smoothly.

  • I poured Asher a small glass of milk and carried both Asher and the milk to his bedroom.
  • I sat down in the rocking chair.
  • Asher picked out a book for me to read to him.
  • He crawled up onto my lap, turned around so his back was resting on my chest, and settled in for a story.
  • As I read to him, he drank his milk.
  • Once his milk was finished, I placed the empty glass on the nearby bookcase. “Out,” he reminded me. “Yes, I’ll take the glass out of your room when you go to sleep.”
  • Once the storybook had been read, Asher slid off my lap, took the book from my hands, and put it back in the bookcase where it belonged.
  • He walked over to the light switch for the room and flicked it to turn the light off. “Light on,” he said, as he waited for me to turn on his nightlight.
  • He next climbed up onto my lap, this time facing me, so he could lay his head on my shoulder. His thumb went into his mouth, and he waited for a song to be sung to him.
  • I started rocking in the rocking chair remembering the last time I took care of him and sang to him at bedtime,  I made a poor choice (Choosing the Wrong Song to Sing to a Baby). I wasn’t going to do THAT again! “I’ve got this,” I said to myself proudly, and starting singing “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.”

Asher put his hands on my chest, pushed himself away from me and in a distressed voice said, “No, the Asher Song!”

The Asher song? What is the Asher song!?

I tried singing other nursery songs to him, but no…. they weren’t the Asher Song.

I finally told him that I didn’t know the Asher song, but I would have Mommy and Daddy teach me tomorrow. That satisfied him, and I was able to put him in his crib, where he promptly arranged his “stuffies” the way he likes them to be, laid his head on his pillow and said, ‘Night,night.”

The next day I asked about the Asher Song. It is something that his Mom made up and it goes like this:

“Good night, Asher,
Good night, Asher,
Good night, Asher,
It’s time to go to sleep.”

2nd verse: ends with “It’s time to say night-night.”

The next night I was putting him to bed too, and good grief, I couldn’t remember the last lines, so I made up my own…

“Good night, Asher,
Good night, Asher,
Grandma says goodnight.”

He started giggling, took his thumb out of his mouth, and said, “More.”

So I sang it again.

He giggled again, and asked for “More” again.

So I went through the family, “Grandpa says goodnight,”.. then Mommy and Daddy, then his brother and his sister, and then the family dog, the family cat, and then our dog. My throat was getting dry, but, thankfully,  his thumb was starting to slip from his mouth.

I laid him in his crib and he softly said, “Go.” He was half asleep already.

Maybe it was the new Asher song. I would like to think so.


Night-night, Asher, Grandma says goodnight.






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