October 14, 2016
How Routines Lead to Success
As a parent of a child with special needs, your life may sometimes feel chaotic and overwhelming. Although your children light up your world, simple things like getting the children ready for bed can feel impossible some days. What would you do to get a little order in your home? Setting up some family routines may be the game changer you need!
Creating routines can be a foundation of security for children and a much-needed source of peace for parents. It may seem counterintuitive, but a predictable schedule and routine gives children the structure they need to explore, learn and grow. The Family Information Network of Ohio says that children, “thrive in an ordered and predictable home environment, where their caregivers approach daily routines, such as meal times, sleep times, eating, playing and toileting, with predictability.”
This is especially important for children with special needs. Because daily tasks can be more difficult for these children to accomplish, a routine is that much more important. A routine is important for parents too. When your children know what to expect, you can spend less energy explaining what they need to do next and potentially avoid meltdowns. Sounds great, right?
Tips on Routine Planning
- Take it one thing at a time. You don’t have to come up with a full daily routine overnight. Instead, take it one part of the day at a time. For example, you may start by establishing a morning routine. Once your child has that down, move to an after school routine, and so on.
- Make it easy to understand. Your routine doesn’t have to be complex. You just need your child to know what to do when they are finished with a task. One easy way to communicate the order of the routine is making a visual aid. Laminate a sheet of paper with pictures of each task, and have your child place a check mark next to pictures as each task is completed.
- Be consistent. As with establishing any new habit, consistency is key. It may be tough to enforce for a little bit, but soon the new routine will become second nature to the family.
- What’s in it for the kids? Give your child some incentive to go with the routine. Maybe it means the routine includes built-in alone time with you, or T.V. time. Giving your child a reason to complete the routine every day will make the transition easier for everyone.
Bringing some structure into your lives might make your home a happier, calmer place for everyone. Are you willing to give it a shot?