How is it possible that school is about to start? Eek! Is anyone as unprepared (and excited at the same time) as I am?
Back to school brings changes to leisurely summer routines, depending on your summer schedule and work situations. I’m not going to lie, it is certainly hard for everyone to get back into the swing of things at our house.
I love using routine charts; they help kids feel safe, know what to expect, help ease transitions and foster independence. With my oldest, he needs a lot of reminders. (So does my husband so it’s a win, win for everyone involved.) Every child can benefit from routines, but kids with ADHD, processing issues, and ASD thrive on routines, as it helps alleviate anxiety and sets the stage for positive development. For my research friends out there, a review in the Journal of Family Psychology found that in over 50 years of research even infants and young children benefit from routines as they display well-regulated behavior and overall better mental health.
Visual charts help kids see sequences of events with pictures (and words at times) of what is expected and can be used for non-readers and readers. We’ve just started using one for Theo, age 2. He loves following along, and he feels so proud of himself.
We now use a written routine chart for Henry with three different laminated sheets for morning, after school and bedtime schedules. I have charts posted in his bedroom and on our refrigerator downstairs so we’re never without a reminder. For older kids, it instills confidence in their own abilities as they don’t have to ask or be “reminded” (aka nagged) of what to do on a second-by-second basis.
While I’ve included a link to sample charts for both younger and older kids, for our personal use, I add in times for my oldest’s routines, but that is a matter of preference and knowing your child and how they react to time deadlines. Also, I’m clearly not going to win any graphic design awards but they work well for us. I used Canva to create these charts, but I certainly can tailor one for you for free, just email at [email protected]. (If you don’t own a laminator, head on over to an office printing center and they can quickly do it for you or head to USD 259’s Parent Teacher Resource Center.)
Transitions can be tough so I encourage you to start planning weeks in advance. I suggest starting with slight bedtime changes over time with practice following the charts and lots and lots of praise and encouragement! Please remember that your children won’t automatically start following these routines. It takes consistency and patience. LOTS OF PATIENCE. Think of how much your child will appreciate knowing what is expected of them; just maybe not right now!
You’ve got this, sweet moms!