Tomorrow is Monday and thus, it’s time to go back to school. To help you get out of the house in the morning without losing your sanity or your temper, follow these suggestions:
- Start a consistent daily schedule. Preparing your children ahead of time and letting them know what is expected of them will make it easier when the day arrives. Having a predictable and consistent daily schedule builds confidence in a child, decreases anxiety, and encourages cooperation. When a child can anticipate future events it increases his sense of control and independence.
- Using a visual schedule is a great way to demonstrate to a child what is expected of him. Prepare the chart together with your child using pictures or drawings of familiar activities such as going to the potty, brushing teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast. For ideas on visual schedules, visit Google/Images/Visual charts.
- Have a desired activity follow an undesired activity can help avoid power struggles. For example, if your child is allowed to watch TV in the morning, make sure getting dressed and eating breakfast precede the reward.
- It is very important to allow time for transitions between activities. Don’t whisk your child away while he/she is playing and shove him into the car. Never interrupt a preferred activity. Give him/her a 10-15-minutes warning that he/she will need to turn off the TV or put his/her toys away and it will be time to leave the house to get into the car
- Build choices into the schedule so you child can feel some control. Allow your child to choose between 2 healthy breakfast options, such as cereal or oatmeal, or wearing the red or the blue shirt.
- Wake up 15 minutes earlier so you are not rushed.
- It is always helpful if you have prepared the backpack and anything else that needs to go to school the night before.
- Be ready for some “hiccups” every once in a while. Think about them as opportunities to teach. Remain calm and keep consistency. Kids test limits every so often. You just have to get through the storm. Every time it rained, it stopped.
The morning routines should go smoothly most often than not. If this is not the case, revamp the routine. Do not keep doing the same when it is not working and expecting changes. The way we adults interact with our children is the reason they behave how they do. And keep in mind that you have the option to consult the experts. We are here to assist you.
Daniel Adatto, BCBA