Back to School Morning Routines With Autistic Children
I just love back to school time! I can’t wait to see my friends and what I get to learn this year. I really look forward to it all summer. However, waking up early again and getting off to school each morning can be a big schedule change after a long summer, and that can be pretty stressful for my friends.
Plan Ahead for Better School Mornings
So what’s the best way to help ease back into a weekday morning routine? Let’s start by starting early! A couple weeks before classes start, get everybody up at the “school” time. This means everybody’s got to go to bed at the school time, too. Establishing this routine early, before the school year actually starts, is especially important for children on the Autism spectrum, since a lot of times it’s harder for them to get a good night’s sleep.
Once you’ve started your sleep routine, now make a back to school checklist. Your back to school checklist should have two parts: the evening before and school mornings. The evening before school, homework should be done and in the backpack so it doesn’t get forgotten. You can also set an outfit out (don’t forget shoes!) to cut back on things to do in the morning. The morning checklist should include normal morning routine things like brushing your teeth, getting dressed and eating breakfast. Include checks for gathering school items, like lunches and backpacks. If you don’t check to make sure homework is in the backpack the night before, make sure that is also included on the list.
Create a Calm Morning Environment
Did you know your stress can rub off on your child? If you’re feeling anxious, it can surely make everyone around you feel that way, too. Planning ahead will help, but keeping the environment calm will do wonders for your mornings. Here are a few tips to keep your morning calm:
- Take time to center yourself before the kids get up. Have a hot drink and mentally plan out your day.
- Play soft music while the family gets ready. TV in the morning should be avoided since it’s a big attention-grabber. You need all the focus you can get that early!
- Have a “no complain” rule in the mornings. You’ll be amazed at what starting the day with a positive attitude can do!
Keep Things Consistent for a Good Morning Routine
The best recommendation for good mornings is keep to a set routine. This is equally important for kids and parents. The snooze button is not your friend—it just makes your morning crazier!! You really should try to keep to the waking/sleeping routine even on weekends. It sets your body’s internal clock and helps you get better, more even sleep.
If you have a picture schedule or checklist, write in times for each activity and stick to them. Try out times in the weeks before school and adjust them if you need.
I hope everyone has a fun and successful school year ahead. When do your kids go back? I hope you find my tips for school mornings useful. I’d love to hear what works for your family in the comments below or on Facebook.