Morning Routines and More

Ring the Alarm – School is Back!


The kids are going back to school which means it’s time for changing up our schedules and getting used to those early mornings. I returned to work this week and wow, it was hard! I was exhausted, cranky, and depended heavily on large coffees and donuts to stay awake. It’s tough to transition to our school-year schedules after enjoying the slow mornings and late nights of summer. It may be difficult for us, but it’s also difficult for our children. Creating a structured and consistent morning routine can help our children to feel prepared for their day while building independent skills. While the first few weeks or even months can be difficult – don’t lose hope! The more we practice our morning routines, the easier they become!

Visual Schedules



Having a visual schedule is the first step to a smooth morning. Maybe it’s posted in their bedroom, or maybe in a nearby hallway – you want it to be somewhere that can be easily seen and used the moment they’re up. The Autism Helper’s Visuals & Schedules for the Home has first then boards, schedules, and chore charts that can even be used for your after school schedule. Here is an example of the morning schedule page – you can use the icons included or make icons that fit your child’s routine best! As your child gets comfortable with following their morning schedule, focus on increasing their independence – celebrate big wins with a fun breakfast treat or new tooth brush to keep your child motivated!

Building Understanding with Social Stories


Sometimes morning routines and hard because our children do not always understand why we want them to wash up before school, or eat a nutritious breakfast before the bus. These tasks can often feel burdensome to our kids, therefore making it a challenging morning for everyone involved. Social stories can be a simple way to read and talk about some of these topics before they happen. For example, explaining the importance of having good hygiene at school is not easy to do when the bus is waiting outside. But, at night during story time can be a chance to read and discuss our morning routine. This social story pack goes over showering, taking your medicine, and washing your hands – all helpful stories that may be a part of your morning routine. Social stories help our students understand what to expect, what to do, and provides a chance for them to ask questions.

Biscuits & Gravy, Please!



Choice boards for breakfast are a must! Make sure to only provide the choices you know you have available and that you have time to prepare. If you’re really feeling adventurous and have the time, you can work on your child helping with preparing breakfast. Maybe breakfast is as simple as a granola bar or maybe you’re able to make pancakes and eggs – either way, give your child the chance to communicate what they would like. Breakfast choice can also be motivating for our students that struggle with some of those initial tasks. Not feeling up to brushing our teeth this morning? Remember, first we brush our teeth, then we choose our breakfast! 

Quick Tip: Bake some homemade scones or pancakes with your little one that you can reheat all week for quick and yummy breakfasts together! Healthy option? Yogurt parfaits in individual mason jars are fun to prep and delicious to eat!
Stephanie Kennedy, M.Ed
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