The Value of a Strong Morning Routine
Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families
Many families can relate to the struggle of the morning routine. Sometimes it might seem there is too much to accomplish in too little time: Making sure your children wake up on time, getting children washed up and dressed, preparing and eating breakfast, packing lunches… and the list goes on! While the morning routine can be difficult, a strong, well organized routine is extremely valuable, particularly for children with special needs. A positive routine can set the tone for the entire day. If your family is struggling in the mornings, consider this advice.
Start by setting goals and expectations. For example, what time do you need to be ready to leave the house? Once you know the answer to that, you can determine what time each child needs to complete each part of their morning routine to reach your goal of leaving the house on time. Be sure to communicate your goals and expectations to all family members, including your children, so they can better understand what is expected of them.
Consider a visual morning routine chart for your children.. It can be helpful to create a list of tasks that each child must complete in the morning. This helps them understand their tasks but also gives them a sense of independence. For example, a chart may include tasks like brush teeth, wash face, get dressed, and eat breakfast.
Do as much as possible the night before. The best way to start each morning off strong is to take advantage of any tasks that can be completed in the evenings. For example, you can make sure your child’s homework is completed and put in his or her backpack every evening to avoid a morning rush to finish it and pack it. Lunches can be prepared and packed the night before. Your child can choose and lay out his or her clothes. Evaluate the tasks that sometimes take a great deal of time in the morning and determine what can be done at night to help.
Allow enough time. Think of how much time is reasonably needed for you and your child to complete your morning routine. Then, make sure you are waking up early enough to do so realistically. If you are always feeling rushed in the mornings, it could be that you simply need to wake up earlier.
Offer children a choice. When your child struggles to start his or her morning routine, present a choice. Doing so offers them some independence and ownership of their routine, and can help encourage your child to take any action, such as eating breakfast or getting dressed, rather than wasting those precious morning minutes.
Keep a positive attitude. Remember that if you have a negative attitude in the morning, your child will be more likely to as well. If you stay positive, you will help your child have a happy, strong start to the day.
For more advice on successfully developing a positive morning routine for your child with special needs, contact the caring, knowledgeable team at Peak Potential Therapy.
We look forward to working with you, your child and your family.