Routines are an important part of everyone’s daily life, but they are especially important for children. Routines allow a child to have a sense of control over their environment and learn responsibility. Routines can help improve regulation, transitions, and decrease stress and anxiety surrounded by change and uncertainty.
Children learn to become emotionally ready for what is to come next when a routine is established. Routines allow for a child to learn in comfortable and safe boundaries and gain satisfaction and confidence in learning these routines independently. But with today’s busy lifestyle, family routines are changing on a daily basis which can impact the child’s ability to become independent and successful with their home routine.
Below are some tips to help improve your child’s confidence and success in their home routine:
Create a visual schedule
Depending on your child’s age, you can use pictures or written words to outline your home routine. Break the routine down in to easy steps for your child to follow. You can also have your child check off each step once completed to give your child a sense of accomplishment. This also allows your child to visually see their success, which will help provide motivation.
This is key! Don’t give up after a few failed attempts. Your child needs to know what to do at what time of day in order to learn the routine and become successful independently.
Be positive and provide rewards
Do not reprimand your child. This will increase the chances that your child will lose motivation and not complete their routine. Mistakes and bad behavior will occur, but reinforce only the positive things they do throughout completing the routine. As they become more confident and successful in their routine, you can begin to fade out the rewards.
Model the routine
Show your child the correct way to do each step of the routine and assist them if need be. Many children are visual learners and will learn by doing. With practice, they will become more independent in each step.
Provide choice within the routine
Allow your child to choose parts of the routine. For example, which shampoo or toothpaste they want to use. This will give your child a sense of control during the routine and motivate them to complete the tasks given.
Prepare the night before
Pack backpacks, lay out clothes, make lunches, etc. Involve your child in the preparation and tell your child what is expected of them the next day so they can begin to mentally prepare.
Build in extra time
When first learning to complete routines independently, your child may require additional time to get through the routine. As we all know, practice makes perfect, so make sure you plan enough time to allow for mistakes.
If your child has difficulty with completing their home routines successfully and independently, seek guidance of an occupational therapist.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!