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It is very important for a childcare center or home to have a well-developed structure and planned activities.  This is true because not only does it help keep children busy, stimulated, and out of trouble, but it also helps them feel more secure.  Small children feel safer in a structured environment.  

Children begin to adapt to schedule and routine and are more likely to participate in and enjoy activities when they know what to expect.  For example, a child is less likely to fret over being hungry or thirsty during story time, if he or she knows snack time follows the current activity.  A child can react better to stressors if he knows what will happen next and that his or her needs will be met in a timely manner. 

A tired child will usually be able to manage the clean up routine with the comfort of knowing that he or she will be able to nap soon after.  Structure is also helpful because it gives children a better sense of time.  Instead of worrying that it’s going to be all day until he or she sees Mom or Dad again, the child understands that pick up time comes soon after returning from the playground. 

We know that structure is important from the way our children respond at home.  They are much more relaxed and well-behaved when their routines are not constantly disrupted.  The same is true of childcare, so it is important to select a center or home provider that offers good structure and routine activities.