Routines Rule the Day

What is it about kids and routines ? Some love them and some hate them, and some absolutely crave them.

In reality, all children thrive with structure, and for kids who have ADHD, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, or have inflexible thinking, they are a crucial component to effective day to day living.

Consistency gives children the comfort of knowing that everything will be the same EVERY TIME. If they are disorganized, it gives a natural structure to their day.

It may sound torturous to us, but it provides a sense of security and predictability which allows them to relax. Some kids just don’t like any changes or surprises, and they will become anxious and confused without structure.

Schedule or Routine?

So, what’s the difference between the two?

A schedule tells him or her WHEN something is going to happen and the routine tells them HOW it’s going to happen. We use them when we need to teach a sequence of events.

Remember, the schedule can be loose, but not the other. The second will tell them how to get it done within the time frame of the schedule. And making it into a checklist will probably send them over the moon! Every kid loves a checklist.

Starting Your Day...

Soo, do your mornings leave you frazzled? Morning is a great place to start building your peace of mind, and it might look something like this...

When we get up in the morning, the first thing we do is go to the bathroom (yes, they frequently need to be reminded of this). Our checklist tells us what to do: wash hands, then brush teeth and hair, put things away, THEN leave the bathroom.

You should have routines set up for any part of the day where your child struggles. It might include:

Getting ready for school

Meal times and types of food choices


Free time

Cleaning the house or bedroom

Evening wind down


If there is a time of the day at school where your child struggles to organize, start there. For many kids, this would be the beginning or ending of the school day, transition times, or independent work times. Having open lines of communication with your teacher will help you both to address these issues as they arise.

Preparation is Everything

Prepare your child for changes in thier day. When changes need to occur, make sure they have plenty of time to adjust to the them.

Some kids get so attached to schedules and routines that they become very upset when they are disturbed or changed in any way!

Yes, they might SEEM boring to an adult. They SEEM to take all of the spontaneity out of summer and holidays, but that’s looking at them with adult eyes.

When you look at them through the eyes of a child, they seem almost as comforting as a security blanket. It helps them enjoy day-to-day living.