If school is currently closed, your special needs child may be struggling to find a routine that works well for him. Whether you are currently in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic or are facing an extended school break, use these tips to create a thoughtful schedule filled with calming routines for your child.
Let Your Child’s Natural Cues Form the Schedule
By now, your child probably has natural times when he wants to awaken and go to bed. He may even have times when he likes to be more active and other times when he prefers to rest. Use these natural cues to help you with the timing of the schedule.
Focus on Morning and Bedtime Routines
The two most important parts of the day are the morning and evening. The morning routine will set the tone for the rest of the day while the bedtime routine will create a peaceful mindset for sleeping. Even if you struggle to create a schedule for the entire day, get these two areas down pat.
Schedule Independent Times
Instead of worrying about scheduling every minute of your child’s day, leave some blank space in the schedule. Give your child the chance to be creative in how he spends his time independently, whether it is in reading a book, running around in the backyard, or practicing an imaginative play. By leaving some blank space in the schedule, you will be decreasing stress for both you and your child.
Create a Visual Chart
Many children, especially special needs children, work well with visual aids. Charts help them integrate what they see with what they do and can be invaluable when it comes to daily schedules. Find a fun checklist, and laminate it so that your child can use a dry erase marker to check off each task as he accomplishes it.