February 24, 2024

Importance of consistent rules for preschoolers: Why structure matters during early childhood education

3 min read

It’s said that children are often unpredictable. They play when they want to, eat if they wish, and “tune out” others if it suites them. Parents, guardians, and many homecare providers often love, and even encourage, this spontaneity among kids. It adds an element of randomness to a child’s personality. Staff and administrators at day care centers in Rockville MD know well, however, that having and implementing a consistent set of understandings, with young children, boosts their sense of safety and security.

Why Structure Matters

As adults, having a sense of control in our lives is essential, because it enables us to regulate what to do, when to do it, and how. Psychologically, that gives us sense of charting our own destiny, something that’s important for our self confidence and self-esteem. Unfortunately, in a young kids’ world, that sense of freedom doesn’t exist.

For kids, attending child care Rockville MD, there’s a structured roster of activities, planned and laid out for them, in accordance with an approved curriculum. So, while they aren’t in total control ow what and when to indulge in certain actions, the consistent application of that roster gives them certainty about what’s about to unfold.

Having that structure in their lives is important, firstly, because it sets certain limits and boundaries around expectations (of them), and expected reactions (from them). Secondly, the consistent application of the rules governing these expectations and reactions nudges young minds towards good behavior: Meal breaks are in 5-minutes, so put away your toys, and grab your snacks and get ready to line-up in the hallway!

The Consequences of Consistency

Consistency in applying the rules for preschoolers attending child care Rockville helps build resiliency in their characters.  It teaches them the value of planning their lives around certain expected norms – such as washing one’s hands before a meal; or leaving their toys behind when engaging in other learning activities.

As preschoolers master (or grow used to) those consistencies, they’ll also learn to handle any in consistencies that might arise – whether it be as youngsters, or as adults. For instance, always being first in line may be an expectation; but if a child delays in putting away their toys in readiness for the lunch line, the consistent application of the “form the lunch queue” rule means they must accept being 3rd or 10th in the line.

To make consistency work, however, requires that:

  • parents, guardians, caregivers, and teachers, ensure young children understand what the rules are
  • the rules remain “stable”, and not change frequently or randomly
  • adults, within the kid’s circle, also adapt their lives to these rules – leading by example. For instance, a “no TV while eating dinner” must also include adults within its scope
  • the application of the rules must be incremental – start small, and then move to broaden the scope of consistent application

Most importantly, young kids must understand what the consequences of not following the rules means – including loss of privileges, or denial of conferred opportunities. These lessons, consistently applied and learned in day care centers in Rockville MD, helps preschoolers adapt to other rules of behavior in their personal, professional, and social lives.