Children’s wellbeing is paramount in this period of uncertainty when changes to routine may happen swiftly and unexpectedly. Whilst routine can be dull at times it can also be helpful in reassuring us that there is some sort of order to our lives. Young children thrive on knowing what to expect and gain confidence from knowing what will come next – ‘I’m dressed and ready so we must be going out’ is a fairly predictable event for a two year old whilst, a five year old may realise that when the little hand on the clock gets to 11 and the big hand reaches 6 it will be time to wash their hands ready for lunch – in this way children begin to make sense of their lives. So, even when change is inevitable holding on to ‘normality’ will help children feel a sense of control. Visual reminders of the things that matter to children help too – so drawings or photographs on a time line showing key events can be very reassuring, helping them to ‘see’ where they are in a day; this is particularly important for children attending daycare or school, since without such reminders the day can seem unending, in spite of all the opportunities for play that are on offer.
The role of the key person is particularly significant in group provision – either nursery, pre-school or school – and contingency arrangements will ensure that if a child’s key person has to stay away from the setting, for some reason, there will be a familiar substitute who will fill the ’emotional gap’ for the child.