Seven Ways to Help with Changes in Routines

They’re gone.

I’ve had company for over two weeks, and it’s taken me days to get my house and mind back in order. Today, it’s painfully obvious to me how you don’t get to choose your family members, and I’m left with memories of stinging barbs, unjust demands, and the relapse of biting my tongue for way too long.

It’s always great to see relatives, but it’s really nice when you watch their headlights turn from your driveway.

Kids don’t need to close up and fall apart when there’s a change in routine…like when company comes and takes over your house!

Part of the problem? My routine had been altered. Not that it’s that big of a deal for me, but I like my quiet time, my writing time. I didn’t really want to sit and watch a slide show with music to two sixty some year-olds trying to relive their youth.

But I did. Politely, I oohed and ahhhhed at all the right times, fighting back nausea.

It made me think of kids with learning issues, especially those on the spectrum. Routines are sooooo important to them. But sometimes, company comes. Sometimes, company starts smelling like dead fish, even before three days are up.

So, I thought of some coping mechanisms for them. Because, we all know that no matter how hard you try to keep routines, life happens. Changes occur, and these kids need to go with the flow. Like having company for too long, it’s hard for these kids to go with the flow.

Following are seven tips to help your child cope with changes in routine:

  1. If at all possible, warn your child of the upcoming change. Talk about it. A lot.

  2. Tell your child why the change is about to happen. These kids have a craving for why, and once they have a good reason, they’re usually content with the change in routine.

  3. Don’t give too many changes at once. This is overwhelming to a child with learning issues. Ease into a series of changes, such as one a week. Of course, if you’re moving to another state, there’s not much you can do, but try to keep a semblance of a normal routine. Eat at the same times if possible. Keep back a few special toys or dishes.

  4. Keep calm. Your child is depending on you for guidance, so if you fall apart, then it isn’t going to help. This isn’t always easy to do, especially if big life changes like divorce or death occur, but do the best you can.

  5. Offer alternatives to routines. Kids with learning issues like choices. It gives them a feeling of having power in their lives. So, when setting new routines, give them choices if possible. For instance, you can ask your child if she’d rather do chores after homework or before homework.

  6. Be consistent with the new changes. This sounds simple, but if you set the new homework time as 4:30, then stick with that like your life depends on it. Your child’s mental well-being might very well depend on it!

  7. Offer coping mechanisms to changes that might be stressful to your child. For instance, you can give your child fidgets, blocks to sort or stack, Legos, essential oils, or a favorite stuffed animal.

Once you set your mind to finding creative outlets to help your child, the possibilities are endless!

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