How to Create a Morning Routine for Your Child with Autism

by Jenn

If your child has autism, you probably feel like mornings are an uphill battle of getting your child out of bed, cleaned up, dressed, with the food they’ll eat in their stomach, and ready for school.  You can’t lose a second of your schedule because it might make them freeze in their tracks: so what can you do?

Mornings are hard for everyone, but they’re especially difficult for kids with autism who have trouble transitioning between tasks.  These are the top things any parent can do to make their mornings easier.

Break It Into Activities

One of the best ways to make a schedule easier on a kid with autism is to break it up into recognizable tasks and activities!  This means that you schedule a time for them to get up and get to the bathroom, where they’ll take care of hygiene, and then a bedroom time where they dress and do some stretches for the day, and then a time to eat and enjoy breakfast.  Although planning this thoroughly may seem like a lot, it’s the best way to make sure they get the most out of their morning.

Set Up Timers

Timers are an important part of helping children with autism work through the transitions between activities in the morning.  Like how a bell rings between classes in their school, having a bell or chiming an alarm between morning activities may help them click from task to task.  

Use Their Favorite Music

Music is a powerful tool for everyone, but especially for children with autism.  If you know their favorite songs that they love to dance and stim to, play that after every alarm or timer so they can feel the excitement of moving on to another task and doing a great job.  

You don’t have to play the same song every morning, but you should consider sticking to their absolutely favorite songs on Mondays, so those days are extra special for them.

Stick to the Schedule

The most important thing you can do with this routine is stick to it exactly the same way every day.  Although you may not like this as much on weekends, the best part of this schedule is if you can get them to stick to it seven days a week, they’ll start doing it without the fighting that mornings often come with.

Allow Them to Take the Lead

One of the best lessons ABA therapy services can teach you is that you have to work with your child as a team.  After a while, they may tell you ways that you can make the morning schedule better or what help they need: it’s important that you listen to them.  If they want to brush their teeth last, that’s perfectly fine, or if they want to move showers to the night before, that’s okay too!  Be flexible as an example for them.

Mornings Can Be Easier for Everyone

Everyone needs an easier morning so that they can have a better day.  Work together with your awesome kid, and your mornings will start going smoothly in no time.

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