Routine provides children with comfort and consistency, helping them to understand that they are in safe and loving environment and that life can be predictable.
One of the best ways of encouraging children to maintain a healthy routine that aids their development is by using a weekly planner.
It ensures they know which activities are scheduled for the day ahead, in turn making them feel happier and more comfortable with an awareness of what is expected of them.
As a result, they are more likely to complete both functional and fun tasks without any issues.
Morning and evening routines
Figuring out which tasks and activities to include in your child’s weekly planner depends on where they will benefit most from having more structure.
For example, some children need reminders to brush their teeth every morning, and before going to bed, which is a task that can be placed on the board accompanied by a photo that acts as a visual prompt.
Instilling consistent routines at both ends of the day is essential to promoting healthy development because it encourages children to understand the importance of not only being independent, but also looking after themselves.
Some studies have suggested children that do not engage regularly in these rituals can struggle to look after themselves as young adults.
Equally, some children may benefit from using a weekly planner if they suffer from anxiety.
The most recent survey of mental health for children and young people in England discovered that 12.5 per cent of five to 19-year-olds had at least one mental disorder when assessed.
Anxiety and the uncertainty that it provokes can make many tasks, such as going to school or having a doctor’s appointment, feel especially overwhelming.
However, by using a weekly planner, you can help your child understand when they will be required to go to those places.
Removing a fear of the unknown can help to reduce their anxiety levels, teaching them that these tasks are a normal part of life.
Changes in routine
Changes in routine can be disconcerting for any child, but particularly for those with autism and other processing difficulties.
They become reliant on the set routines they have in place for the day, and any diversion from them can quickly lead to upset and distress.
These changes can be pre-empted by parents; you can use your child’s weekly planner to help them understand and better adapt to a change.
For example, if you usually take the same route to school each day but tomorrow have to take a different route because of roadworks, it can be visually identified on the board and explained to the child.
By reassuring them this change won’t affect the rest of their daily routine, and allowing them to visually process what will occur, you can help to avoid any unnecessary stress and upset.
Social events and activities are another great addition to weekly planners for children.
It not only helps them to appreciate the joy of having something to look forward to; it can also help them to mentally prepare.
According to research carried out by Autstica, the UK’s leading autism research charity, anxiety disorders affect 42 per cent of autistic children compared with just three per cent of children without autism.
That is why using tools like a weekly planner is key to helping and supporting them.
Your child may have been invited to a party at the weekend which, for many, would be something to look forward to.
However, for children with autism and sensory processing disorders, the prospect of these events can feel overwhelming.
Weekly planners like Ourboards’ Weekly Visual Timetable can help children to communicate their thoughts and anxieties with you so that you can reassure them.
An integral part of having a routine is ensuring your child understands that there is a balance to be struck between work and play.
There are many functional tasks like brushing teeth, eating meals and getting dressed that must be completed, but there is also time to play and be creative.
Scheduling time for fun activities on your child’s weekly planner will help them to experience the enjoyment of childhood as well as advance their social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.
At OurBoards, we are committed to supporting people facing challenges associated with understanding information by designing and manufacturing visual communication boards that help them to understand and manage their environment, thoughts, behaviours, and emotions.
Why not help your child to learn the importance of organisational and time management skills by allowing them to plan the days and weeks ahead?
By using our Weekly Visual Timetable, children can choose their own personalised images to help reduce anxiety over school, their morning schedule, changes in routine, transitions, alterations to agreed activities such as what they’ll be having for tea, medical appointments and social events.
Parents, carers, teachers and professionals have reported a significant reduction in meltdowns by using the Weekly Visual Timetable.
If you would like to find out more about our weekly planner, or any of our other products, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today by calling 0560 285 2493.
We will be happy to help you find the right board for your situation.