Max was adopted from Russia at 7 months. He was developmentally behind by 4 months and was not meeting milestones. Lots of therapies later, Max still struggles with a few things. Don’t we all you say? He struggles a little harder than most. Max has pretty severe ADHD and Sensory Issues. I should really say HAD because we have worked through most of his obstacles and are managing very well these days.
This leads me to what our mornings use to be like: Lots of screaming, lots of not focusing, lots of doing everything but what needed to get done, running late, lots of hurt feelings. Something had to change and it did.
This is mainly for the weekdays. Weekends are much more relaxed:
1. Set expectations
2. Keep it simple
3. Be consistent
Buy one of these. Walmart. $5.
- Make one of these. Fiber board. Clip art. Laminating sheets. Velcro.
- Lay clothes out the night before.
Laying the clothes out the night before does a couple of things: (1) It is it’s own picture schedule of what is needed to be done (2) sets them up for success (3) keeps expectations in check. You can’t expect your child to do everything. (see #1 & #2)
- It doesn’t have to be perfect.
This is what Max’s bed looks like when he makes it every morning. Perfect? No. Perfect enough? Yes.
So, after Max’s alarm wakes him up around 6:30, he completes the items on his list and meets me downstairs around 7am (Yes, folks, I don’t even get out of bed until 7am). I help Max with his hair and fix him breakfast. The bus comes at 7:30. No more screaming, no more running late.
The picture chart will work with anything. Chores, after school routine, whatever you are having trouble with. I really should go to a word chart and ditch the pictures now that he is starting to read. So really anything works.
Here is what we do for weekends:
1. The night before (Friday Night), I set out his breakfast on the kitchen table. Usually dried cereal in a baggie, banana and apple juice. I make it something simple that he can take to his room and eat.
2. He is allowed to watch TV, play video games, toys etc in his room or playroom.
3. He is not allowed to wake us up (unless it’s an emergency). Yes, it can be hard to teach a 6 year old (actually 5 at the time we started this) what an emergency is, but this is part of his learning process. He learned real quick that not getting his Xbox controller to work is NOT an emergency but a bloody nose is…all part of growing up
Having these expectations on weekends gives us time as parents to sleep in. You could even set the alarm to work opposite on weekend. When the alarm goes off, you can wake mommy and daddy up etc.
Anyway, you get the point.
Resources for a Picture Schedule: