Life is unpredictable and things can change in a heartbeat. You simply cannot plan for everything. However, there are many things that you can plan for, and this sense of order and routine can be very beneficial for children and families in general. Children tend to thrive more when there is structure, they know what to expect, and they know what is expected of them. This is especially true for children with autism who do not do well with unexpected changes and prefer rules.
Establishing a daily routine can give your kids a sense of security and calmness. It can also help them learn to be more independent and take initiative because they know what comes next. You want to achieve a balance between order and flexibility – kids should not be so overbooked that they do not know what to do when plans change; they should have some downtime in their schedule too.
Tips for Establishing Routines
Plan Ahead: If you know mornings tend to be hectic, prepare as much as you can the night before. Have kids pick out their clothes for the next day and double-check that they have everything in their backpack.
Use Visuals: Make a chart to hang in your child’s room to show what they need to do to get ready in the morning, or what steps they follow when they get home from school.
Stay Consistent: As much as possible, try to follow the same schedule each day. If bedtime is 8 p.m. during the week, it should be on the weekends too. If something changes, let your kids know ahead of time if possible to better prepare them.
Get Your Kids Involved: Let your kids pick the chores they want to help out with around the house. If certain tasks are always a struggle, consider implementing a reward chart for a job well done and some extra motivation.
You know your kids and your family, so create a routine that works for you and adjust accordingly as things change and your kids get older. Turn to PediaPlex for support if your child has trouble following directions, adapting to change, or managing their behavior.
What are some routines you’ve found helpful for your family? Leave a comment and let us know!