If parents decide today is the day they will start a routine, they need to be prepared that it will not go smoothly at first. If, after school, the afternoon is chaotic, then to children chaos is the routine. However, once a routine is in place, then organization will be the routine, the day will go smoother and everyone will be happier.
First, when setting up a routine, parents need to make sure they are good models. If parents want their children to make the bed every morning before leaving for school, then the parents need to make their bed every morning, as well. Modeling actions and words is the most effective behavior management technique.
Next, the parent needs to make sure that the children know exactly what is expected of them and how they can accomplish it. Children may have seen their parents make their bed for years but still may not know how to make a bed or may not know how the parents want the bed to be made. Parents need to actually teach, step by step, how to make a bed.
Lastly, reinforce with praise their good job or effort at a good job. Praise raises children’s self esteem and also motivates them to continue doing the routine, because the children feel successful and proud of themselves.
Other ideas for sticking to a routine include: Discuss the steps and do them together the first few times; write the routine down and post it on the refrigerator for consistency; draw pictures beside the words for young children who cannot read; make copies of the routine and put a check mark next to each item after complete.
Here is sample night time/morning routine:
1. Pick out clothes the night before
2. Pack lunches the night before
3. Put backpack by the front door the night before
4. Put bowls of dry cereal and spoons on the table the night before
5. Put cups of milk to pour over the cereal within reach in the refrigerator the night before
6. Wake up at the same time every weekday morning using an alarm clock
7. Eat breakfast, put dishes in sink
8. Get dressed, put pajamas away
9. Make bed
10. Brush teeth
11. Comb hair
12. No TV or computer until everyone is completely dressed with hair combed
Remember, routines are a predictable way of doing things and a great way for children to learn responsibility.
For Part 1 of this article, click HERE
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