Monday, 13 November 2017

Routines seem to benefit us all

Jane in a tower - My top three books with autistic kids

Our recent realisation into how important routine is for David affected more than I thought.  There's something about seeing your child in an autistic meltdown that is like nothing else.  It's devastating. Routines make David feel safe.  And looking at this incident I realised that as much as I like the idea of spontaneity, much of our lives are now routine driven - and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Bedtimes 
Right from the outset as a new parent, you may feel like you’ll never have a good night’s sleep again, and we're advised to start establishing routines fairly early on. Some children sleep a lot more than others, but if you can stick to the same pattern particularly at bedtime this really helps and particularly for kids with autism or ADHD like our Anthony and David.

It's the same for us as parents.  If we want a good night's sleep then an evening routine helps us.  It gives our body the same signals that it's time for sleep that we are (trying) to instill in our kids.  Both David and Anthony have sleeping difficulties associated with autism - trust me, after ten years with them, I know the value of good sleep for myself.

Mornings
We have free time in the morning until it's 'time to get ready to go to school'.  From this moment on there are basically a series of tasks and concurrent activity.  One thing leads straight into another to make it easier for us all to get out the door.  The fact that Anthony always puts his clothes on in the same order only helps making sure he's actually wearing everything.  Knowing that David and Jane get dressed after breakfast as part of their routine means we have fewer last minute spills onto uniforms.

As part of my evening routine, I've already packed or helped the kids pack (yeh right) their bags for school. Packing snacks and lunches the night before in a thermo boutique steel lunchbox means, they don't have to come out of the fridge in the morning. I also try and read and respond to any questions in the their home-school books before the morning routine starts.  By having all this done the school bags stay lined up in the hall and it's just part of the routine to collect them on the way out of the door.

After school
We've been fortunate enough to find clubs that our kids can access.  Anthony attends the inclusive Karate classes at Me Too & Co and we've been able to get him 1:1 swimming lessons.  This is great, but each of these days have their own routines again that help us through the evening.

We do homework on 'non-club' days so Anthony and Jane don't feel overwhelmed and we do it shortly after getting in from school because Anthony likes to get it out of the way - just the same way he likes to eat his favourite part of dinner last.   We all need time out - Thursday is our free time day but even then the kids know what's happening and dinner and bed time are pretty much the same.

I think I've come to accept that being a parent to my kids is pretty chaotic but the patterns that benefit my kids, benefit me too.  Many parents with autistic kids feel stressed and out of control.  But truth is that the routines we've created mostly around my kids, to help feel they can cope and feel safe, actually assure me I'm doing the things I need to and I feel more control of my day to day life too.

4 comments:

  1. It's not just L who benefits from a routine I crave it too. It just makes things simpler #coolmumclub

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  2. I totally understand this as we are all about the routine here also. My son likes to know times and I have to be very specific e.g. at 8.27 you have to put on your shoes. LOL 😂 Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

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  3. I think a lot of what you said applies to our family too. I hadn't really contemplated how much routine we work around, but I'm a stickler for getting kids to bed on time (for my sanity!) and given they are early risers I'm not far behind them. We also have set days for reading, spellings, homework clubs - I guess it just fell into place that way and I find it creates less stress and chance of forgetting anything.
    Thanks for linking to #coolmumclub hun x

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  4. I think you're absolutely right. I like spontaneity, too, but the routines that are now in-built into our weeks keep me on track and well-organised. Glad they're working for you x Thanks for sharing with #WotW

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