Less Stress & More Success with Morning Times

Hi everyone!

It’s hard to believe it is the middle of September although the weather is a stark reminder that we’ve sadly left the summer days behind us. As routines return to normal and time becomes more precious in order to get to work/school on time I thought it would be a good opportunity to speak about mornings and routines.

Mornings can be a time of stress and mayhem, preparing lunches, getting uniforms on, brushing teeth and realising that today is in fact P.E day and the tracksuit is still in the washing basket…will his younger brothers tracksuit be too small?? It can be exhausting! Some of you may have mornings down to a fine art but for a lot they are usually pretty hectic.

I have been getting a lot of questions around assisting children with their morning routine. Visual schedules are something I use and recommend a lot! Many children benefit from having a visual schedule to follow particularly during a time-constrained morning, they can be beneficial for:

  • Assisting with organisation and the sequencing of tasks,
  • Help those with anxiety to know what is expected of them
  • Encourage independence

And maybe even

  • Give Parents an extra 2 minutes to have a quick coffee

Different schedules work for each individual but they are all relatively easy to make regardless of your creativity level.

Here below is a very straightforward one made from Microsoft word and clipart.

I would usually have the child put a tick mark in the last column (which can assist with pencil work) or applying a sticker in the last column when each task is complete (assists with using two hands together- bilateral coordination) or applying a clothes peg to each step once it’s complete (assists with development of the pincer grip).

* An easy adaptation to this chart would be to use your own photos of your own household items which may work better for children who take things more literally.

Here is another example of a great visual morning routine using magnets from the blog ‘the almost perfectionist’:

You may try out a few different ones until you find the one with works.

Rewards:

If motivation is a factor which is contributing to difficulty completing morning tasks, how about adding in a reward such as a sticker each day if all tasks are complete and gaining five stickers would lead to a weekly reward. Remember a reward does not have to be purchased, a reward could be an extra few minutes on a game of their choice or iPad, spending quality time with mom/dad and carrying out an activity e.g baking, calling to a favourite relative…something that works for the family as a whole.

If your child is having difficulty completing any of these areas in full, OT can help by analysing that task and breaking it down step by step. Many of these tasks could have their own step by step visual schedule if required.
Make sure to let us know if you find any that really work for you or if you need any help with your current routine, you can always reach us on 021-4295800.

Happy scheduling!

Alice

Alice Crowley

About Alice Crowley

Alice is a Senior Occupational Therapist originally from Co. Cork. Following 4 years of studying in Aberdeen, Alice graduated from Robert Gordon University with an Honours BSc Degree in Occupational Therapy.
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