This is mainly for the weekdays. Weekends are much more relaxed:
1. Set expectations
2. Keep it simple
3. Be consistent
Buy one of these. Walmart. $5.
We actually went through 3 alarm clocks before we could find the right one. Some made too loud of a tick-tock, some were too hard to set, turn-off etc. Also, it took awhile for Max to get use to an alarm. He would literally lie awake stressing about the alarm going off. This took time for us but he finally warmed up to the idea (see #3).
Make one of these. Fiber board. Clip art. Laminating sheets. Velcro.
This is Max's morning "To Do" list. He wakes up every morning at 6:30 am. He gets dressed, brushes his teeth and makes his bed. This takes Max approximately 20-25 minutes to complete. I made lots of different clip art situations because there was a time in Max's life that transitioning was a struggle. I would use this board to help him understand his day. I don't have to do this anymore and in reality, don't even need a picture schedule anymore. (see #2)
Lay clothes out the night before.
Laying the clothes out the night before does a couple of things: (1) It is it's own picture schedule of what is needed to be done (2) sets them up for success (3) keeps expectations in check. You can't expect your child to do everything. (see #1 & #2)
It doesn't have to be perfect.
This is what Max's bed looks like when he makes it every morning. Perfect? No. Perfect enough? Yes.
So, after Max's alarm wakes him up around 6:30, he completes the items on his list and meets me downstairs around 7am (Yes, folks, I don't even get out of bed until 7am). I help Max with his hair and fix him breakfast. The bus comes at 7:30. No more screaming, no more running late.
The picture chart will work with anything. Chores, after school routine, whatever you are having trouble with. I really should go to a word chart and ditch the pictures now that he is starting to read. So really anything works.
Here is what we do for weekends:
1. The night before (Friday Night), I set out his breakfast on the kitchen table. Usually dried cereal in a baggie, banana and apple juice. I make it something simple that he can take to his room and eat.
2. He is allowed to watch TV, play video games, toys etc in his room or playroom.
3. He is not allowed to wake us up (unless it's an emergency). Yes, it can be hard to teach a 6 year old (actually 5 at the time we started this) what an emergency is, but this is part of his learning process. He learned real quick that not getting his Xbox controller to work is NOT an emergency but a bloody nose is...all part of growing up :)
Having these expectations on weekends gives us time as parents to sleep in. You could even set the alarm to work opposite on weekend. When the alarm goes off, you can wake mommy and daddy up etc.
Anyway, you get the point.
I don't normally post about parenting on this blog and I try to be very sensitive to Max's issues. However, I was on a Facebook thread with some friends and realized that a lot of parents are struggling like I did BEFORE the schedule. I hope this post can help someone. Please leave me a comment or email me privately if you have any questions. If you don't like my parenting, please keep it to yourself and move on.
Resources for a Picture Schedule:
Downloadable Schedule Boards
Downloadable Picture Dictionary