Therapeutic Tool – Routine


A strong routine will help your child feel safer. When there is a routine they learn to know what to expect, this lessens their fear response, and can lower incidents of dis-regulation.
A routine creates a world where your child knows what will happen next and does not need to guess or hope, which makes them more able to focus on the task at hand.
Put the routine in writing, create a visual chart to help them easily see what comes next.  Make this chart available in different parts of the house; upstairs, downstairs, in their room and even in the toilet (when you sit you have time to look at the routine).
Talk about what happens when there is a change in the routine (because it will happen). Have a plan for how you will handle it, and make sure you follow your follow up plan. Exp. If you always go to the shop on a Tuesday, but your shop is closed due to refurbishment, then state the problem and have a fix for the issue. Make a choice, “we cannot go to shop A, but we can stay home and rest or go to shop B, what do you think?” In this case the plan for a change is staying home or a plan B. If any change this is used, then even the change can be a part of the routine.
Accept and understand your child’s need for routine, don’t get angry or take it personal when they are upset that something did not go according to plan. Be there with your therapeutic parenting and help support them with their need.
Last but not least, when you create your routine make sure it is possible, something that you can succeed with. Why put “play time in the park” on every Tuesday if “play time in the park” always leads to a meltdown and violence? Don’t plan your violent times into the routine if you can help it. If you know it wont work then stop, look for what will.
We cant stop all things that go wrong, but we can try and make things less scary, a routine will do this.

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