Your Child’s Morning Routine Can Be As Easy As 1,2,3…

Mornings can be difficult: it’s easy to stay in bed, especially in the winter months when the outside world looks so cold and our beds feel so warm. Nonetheless, having a consistent morning routine can help your child start their day on the right foot which can be particularly helpful for young people with special needs. Below, learn a few tips on how you can help your child maintain a reliable morning routine.

1 Use Picture Symbols

Sequencing can be difficult for individuals with special needs. Using pictures or symbols to create an anticipatory schedule for your child to help them identify what is expected each morning. A schedule that sequences morning activities takes the guesswork out of what needs to be done. By using visual supports, you can make the morning routine as general or specific as you would like. Some children may be able to use a general schedule that identifies each morning activity while others may require each activity be broken down into smaller steps. 

2 Prepare the Night Before

Set an alarm for your child to the desired wakeup time. Periodic “parental check-ins” are recommended to help facilitate the use of an alarm.ut out your child’s clothes the night before. When choosing your child’s clothing, give them the choice between two outfits: this practice will give your child more ownership and empower them towards self-determination. Put lunch together the night before for those “grab-and-go” moments as everyone is heading out the door.

3 Make Time for a Little Fun

Sometimes we want to add a little fun to our morning routine!  If a few minutes of play time on the TV, iPad, or computer is going to help your child get ready for their school day, be sure to carve out some time for this in their schedule. In order to maintain routines and help kids with special needs lock in a schedule, it’s important that parents/guardians save this play time for the end of their morning routine.  Limiting the amount of time for this activity is crucial for success – setting a timer may be key to this effort, as it will help your child understand when this part of the morning routine is finished.