We all have our daily routines for when we wake up, go to work, and go to bed. These rituals often set the tone for your day, and not doing them can throw off your schedule. Routines are just as crucial for children as they are for adults. Children on the autism spectrum are especially reliant on their daily routines. Routines, especially when paired with ABA therapy, help reduce stress and meltdowns while giving your child a sense of order in their life. Here are some tips to help your child develop a routine.
Benefits of Routines
Children with autism often have difficulty making sense of everyday life. The world can sometimes seem chaotic and confusing to them. Routines help children establish order in their lives as they learn what to expect and when to expect it. A predictable and reliable routine allows children to feel more safe and secure in their environment. They are great at reducing your child’s stress, providing them an environment to learn and form new behaviors, skills, and habits more quickly. Having a routine to depend on make it easier for your child to navigate unfamiliar situations and events.
Create a Basic Routine
Begin with a simple list of tasks your child must do every day and tasks you would like them to complete each day. This list can include tasks like waking up, eating, self-care, school, play, and therapies. Consider how long each task will take, organize them by the time of day, and importance. Once you have an essential list of tasks, you can then turn it into an engaging visual aid for your child to follow. You can use stickers, pictures, or even encourage your child to decorate their schedule.
It is crucial that your child sticks to their routine in order to thrive. There are many things you can do to ensure consistency in your child’s daily routine. For example, you can set reminders on your phone, use timers around the house, or set controls on devices to limit screen time. Auditory cues, such as timers or alarms, are a great way to signal to your child that it is time to move on to the next activity.
Have a Backup Plan
Things do not always go as planned, so it is important to have a backup plan in case something comes up. Unplanned activities or interruptions can cause negative feelings, such as stress or disappointment. Have secondary activities and backup plans in place that you can talk through with your child in the event of necessary changes.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.