Especially for families
Regularly, People tell us that they find it difficult to structure to their families.
But.... Where do you start?
To help you with this, we have created this animation. Below is the text so that you can read along if you prefer.
How do I make things easier
for my family?
Every busy family needs some structure to function properly...
But if you have one or more children with ASD or ADHD, this is even more important. For them, but also for you as a parent. It is nice to know what needs to happen and when, so that you have more structure and both you and your children can anticipate better what will happen in your lives.
Eventually, that leads to everyone in the family to become more relaxed.
But how do you do that?
Often parents are excited and want to start planning an entire day but if you have little experience doing that it is important to start with just a little. For example, simply start with a time of day that does not work so well right now.
It is very important to include your children in the process of planning. Any child older than four can participate. Begin for example in the morning. Together, look at what steps are important in the morning and in what order they should be done.
If the children can think along in this process, it is also more of their own plan which causes the children to be more motivated to cooperate. Work with each child on their own personal plan.
- Start small
- Involve your child
Even if a child is able to read, it is often not enough. That is true especially for children with ASD. A tool like RoutineFactory makes is easy to incorporate pictures.
Make sure that the planning "lives" inside your family. Put up a printed schedule in a place that is easy for everyone to see. For example, put the morning plan you made in the child's room and regularly work through the plan together.
If your child has a smartphone, they can easily use the RoutineFactory app. When a new activity is supposed to start there will be an alarm on the phone. You can even adjust the schedule remotely so that your child's schedule is always up-to-date.
After you have worked with the morning schedule for a few days and it worked well, you can expand it to include a schedule around lunch. Your child's school schedule may well be the same every day with perhaps only a sports club or other activity occurring on a specific day. After just a short while you can expand into the evening schedule. And don't forget to involve your child at every step!
- Start small
- Involve your child
- Let the planning be part of your life
- More possibilities with the app
- Expand (and involve your child!)
Take care to have a continuous plan. You can insert activities that are "free play" but many children still appreciate guidance here.
Be generous in your praise when your child adheres well to the schedule.
It is also important to ask your child often if the schedule still works well for them and if they think that it needs to be adjusted a little.
If certain situations have always been a little difficult, for example in the morning, it might be helpful, especially in the beginning, to focus on a reward. For example, let your child work towards a reward if they manage to adhere to the plan. For instance, you may reward the child with stickers (if age appropriate). If then the child collects a certain number of stickers you may give them a gift they might like or reward them with a fun activity. You can also manage this in the RoutineFactory app!
Weekends are especially difficult for many families. You get out of bed at a different time and different activities may be planned. In the morning you as a parent may think, "This is going to be a long day."
Therefore, planning and structure are especially important on the weekend.
Still get up at a fixed time(this may of course be a little later on the weekend, but don't make it too late).
Structure your weekend days as routine-bound as possible but leave time-slots for varying activities. For example between 10 am and noon and 2:30 and 4:30 pm. You can then take some time the day before and discuss these planned activities with your child. This way you will still be able to enjoy spontaneous activities, but you will appreciate that structure will continue throughout your day.
Young teenagers and adolescents are sometimes difficult to convince how important it is to have a solid plan. That's why you need to find tools that fit into their preferences. The RoutineFactory app is a good fit since you can see and manage everything on a smartphone. This makes it much more attractive for your older children. Especially in adolescence, it is important that it is their own plan. Try to motivate them to take charge of their own planning. The ideal situation would be if all you had to do as a parent was to monitor.
And then you will have accomplished structure within your family. Things run smoothly and you can see that it works!
After a few weeks, however, you may hit a rough patch. At first you may not realize what happened, but the kids are busier, there are suddenly more conflicts and structure seems to have taken a backseat.
But once you realize it you can solve it! All you have to do again is to go back and review the plan. Talk about it and see where changes may be needed. Hang it back up our activate it online and stick to it again. Before you know it you will be back on the right path!