Building a routine out of no routine
Routine, routine, routine!
You've probably heard Mrs Parkes talking a lot about how getting children into a steady and consistent routine really helps to promote positive behaviours. "How can you do this when we're all inside and there is no routine?" I hear you ask!
Here's how to create a routine out of nothing:
1) Make sure you and your child get up and go to bed at the same time every day.
It's hard getting your child up a 7am when they've been awake until 3am. All you want to do is sleep yourself or have time to just relax! Trust me, I've been there. However, ensuring they get up at a similar time every day will help ensure that they are in bed for a reasonable time too. It will be hard to start with but once you've cracked it, it will be worth it.
2) Make getting ready in the morning and at night part of your routine.
Try to create routine around getting dressed, brushing teeth or putting your pjs on. In the morning, do these things before breakfast. It makes you feel fresh and ready to embrace the day. At night, have a relaxing bath or warm shower, put some calming music on and read a story. Don't switch on electronic devices or television. These give off 'blue light' and keep your children awake at night.
3) Make mealtimes fun.
Mealtimes are a family time. Extend this period of time by involving your children in the preparation and cooking of the food. Follow recipes, try new foods or experiment with different spices! Always make sure children are supervised while cooking and preparing food.
4) Enjoy your daily exercise!
You are allowed to exercise daily. Make sure you do. Getting everyone out of the house is a great way to release those positive endorphins (the hormones that makes us feel good) and sets us up for a good week. Go on a long walk, a run or even have a workout in your garden.
I am aware that for some children with special educational needs, it is hard to concentrate on learning or have the confidence to start. This can often lead to children showing negative behaviours. Try starting small and offering your child two different learning activities so they feel in control. (More on supporting learning coming soon!) Remember that it is very important to keep your child and you happy. If you find learning is causing destress, put it to one side for the day and come back to it later.
6) Praise the positive!
There's nothing better than having some reward time built into the day for all the amazing things your child has done. Did they brush their own teeth today? Have they read you a story? Did they complete a small learning task? Reward whatever they have done that day by giving them some choosing time. Allow them to pick an activity and give them a set amount of time to complete it in. Remember to remind them when they are close to the end of their choosing time to support the transition.
There's an example routine below. Please feel free to download the routine and edit it to make it individual to your child. Please contact Mrs Parkes if you need help with this.