We looked at what works in setting up successful routines, the group identified the following main points:
1. Making a big change to a routine takes time and energy. To be able to follow through you have to make it high on your priority list, set a date for yourself to start and not have too many other things going on at the same time.
2. Leave yourself plenty of time to complete the routine so you are not under time pressure, e.g. it might be worth getting up earlier in the morning.
3. Write down the steps that are involved in the routine, e.g. toilet, breakfast, brush teeth, uniform, bus.
4. Make a visual support, with the steps explained by objects lined up in a row, pictures or photographs.
5. Think of how you will reward your child's successful participation in the routine. Provide plenty of praise and encouragement. A reward may be needed until your child gets into the habit of the new way of doing things.
6. Show the visual support and talk about it with them. Show your child you 'mean business', that you are serious that you want your child to follow the routine.
7. Pick a day to start the routine that you feel confidant in yourself and your child is well.
8. PERSIST! It can take time for your child to get used to any changes. You will need to be confident and consistent for it to work.
Timers are useful when you are putting a routine into place. The child can be rewarded when steps on the timer are completed within a certain time.
Samples of visual supports for routines