Having a set routine is a helpful tool for everyone. It helps us organize our day, guides us on what to do, when, and where. Routines are a core part of daily life for all of us. This is especially true for children with autism. Creating a consistent daily schedule is essential for children on the autism spectrum to thrive and cope in any environment. Routines help reduce tantrums and stress while fostering a sense of order in your child’s life. Let’s go over the importance of routines for children with ASD.
Routines and Child Development
Applying daily routines might help reduce the feeling of the world being confusing and chaotic and help your child create a safe space by making their days predictable and reliable. Having schedules allows them to acquire knowledge on predicting familiar behavior. In short, routines provide order in a constantly changing environment. Studies have also shown that routines help deal with depression, anxiety, and reduce stress. It also helps your child quickly learn new skills, habits, and behaviors.
Benefits of Daily Routines
While it’s nearly impossible to plan everything, having visual schedules and routines in place can help your child manage daily life stressors. Having a safe routine to rely on allows your child to navigate the environment around them. Some additional benefits of daily routines include:
- Creates a safe environment
- Reduces emotional struggles (anxiety, depression)
- Reduces meltdowns
- Solidifies parent/child connection
- Teaches cooperation
- Fosters autonomy of their activities and skills
Tips for Building Routines
Creating a routine does not have to be completely one-sided. In fact, consider letting your child help create their routine. Give them some options and let them decide what order they want to do it in. When your child feels like they have some control, they will be more likely to participate. It is also important to use positive reinforcement when building a new schedule. When a child is positively rewarded for completing a task, it will help them transition to the next task. Lastly, it is vital that you are consistent and stick to the routine. Of course, your child’s schedule will be different on the weekends versus school days. But that does not mean their daily routine has to change. Stick to their regular morning and evening routine and use a visual schedule to help transition through your weekend activities.
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.