7 Ways to Implement Your Routines

Now that we’ve covered why routines are important in our last post, here are some tips to create successful self-care routines.

7 Ways to Implement Routines:

  1. Visual schedules – create a book with pictures and descriptive words to show your child what will happen throughout the whole day so they have time to emotionally prepare to deal with upcoming events.
  2. Consistency – try not to give up or reprimand your child for their resistance to a new schedule, as it will only discourage them (and you!).
  3. Rewards – start a chore chart and give out stars or stickers (and maybe even candy eventually) for good behavior or tasks completed to encourage your child to participate in routines.
  4. Model the behavior yourself, at least at first – your child first and foremost learns behavior from you! If you do it, they’ll be more inclined to try it and setting a routine may help you organize your own daily life as well.
  5. Build in extra time to complete a task or prepare the night before – teach your child to think about the next day and prepare for their needs (like packing bookbags, laying out clothes, setting an alarm, making lunch) or to remember things (like an unfinished homework assignment) that might have been forgotten.
  6. Center bedtime around calming activities, like bath time or reading.
  7. Think about the reason your child hates a specific step of their self-care routine – Maybe there are other problems. Is the toothbrush too bristly? Are they nervous about school? Is a food item unpleasant and inedible to them? Make changes/allowances to the routine if your child has problems with a certain step. Sometimes a tantrum is the result of a very specific problem and not just your child being difficult.

Remember: Success takes time, so don’t get discouraged if your child doesn’t take to a routine right away. And don’t be afraid to alter your routine if it’s not working. There is no rule for what kind of routine your family should have or how many routines work best. Whether your routines are daily (ex – teeth brushing, putting on PJs, reading a story, and going to sleep) or weekly (going to the park every Wednesday) it is important to find something that fits with your family’s busy life and helps make daily tasks easier for everyone.

ABA, RBT, Therapist, Behavior