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  • Writer's pictureJessica Johnson

The need for Structure

Are you experiencing repeated meltdowns or wondering why your child seems overly anxious?

When we are parenting children who come from hard places, it’s important that we have predictable structure and rhythms, especially in their early months with us.

While you may be the type of person who likes to be spontaneous and fly by the seat of your pants, your child needs to know what the general structure of the day is going to look like.

Start with the basics of grooming routines and mealtimes and then add in from there. If your child goes to school or day care, make sure they know what to expect when they come home.

If your child is younger and home with you all day, consider having some type of visual schedule they can look at. Add in things like snack time, story time, art time, nap time.

Some of our kiddos came out of orphanages where they were used to high structure. Having routines in place helps them feel secure.

Remember you can always loosen up a bit once your child has been with you longer, although you may want to stick with a regimented routine if your child has a diagnosis that does better with high structure.

I will admit that it can be hard to transition out of this place after so many years. Our girls used to sit down for pancake breakfast every Saturday morning and chime in together “so what’s the plan of the day.”

This felt a bit exhausting to us as parents. It felt like what they were really asking was “what fun outings do you have planned for us today?” or “How will you entertain us and make the day full of fun for us?”

At this point we needed to encourage our girls to create some of their own structure. Pursue some independent hobbies and yes providing an outing for the day did help with the morale.

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