“You have a routine, so you don’t have to worry now.”
“That routine will work for everyone.”
“It works for another family. It will work for all my kids.”
“Why can’t you just change that schedule for today?”
“What do you mean a change in routine is hard?”
“I’m sure you don’t really have to follow the routine.”
Every parenting experience is different. Every child is different and so are their needs. I’m often looking at life and wondering how I managed to get through the daily issues that come up. Some days are easier and some days are harder. How we navigate the daily routine changes all the time. And as parents with special needs, we have to change with it.
It can be like navigating a small stream on a boat. It is every changing and every season is different. But building a routine to deal with the stream we have to navigate helps us along the way.
Daily Routine is Like a Stream
I like to think of our days as a small flowing stream for each of my girls. I have a boat on each stream that I have to learn to navigate.
First Run of the Stream
As a first time parent, you don’t understand that daily life needs routine and that you are making a journey every day down a stream.
Your first run you don’t see the obstacles that you need to avoid. You can see something happening like a rock in the stream but can’t do anything to avoid the problem.
You might not see the rapids that are coming, but you can hear them. We often see our problems coming but the first time we see them, we might not know how to deal with them.
We are often blind through the rapids of a major meltdown problems.
Second Run of the Stream
The second runs of the stream are very different. You might know what is coming, but you are starting making plans for the problems. You know where the rapids are in your routine. It allows you to make different choices on the second day.
You can see your problems areas and maybe you don’t avoid them. But you are emotionally a little better prepared for them. It is only the second time you have seen the problem.
These basic runs help your make your routines that will work for your family. It helps you see some of the problems.
I suggest taking notes during your runs of the stream to help build your routine.
When You Know the Routine of Your Stream
Your daily routine comes you know your stream really well. You can navigate around the rocks, some of the rapids and have a map made of your day.
Every day is always going to be slightly different with minor changes. But building the base of your daily routine is having a map of our stream and routine. You know the basics. It does not matter how you make your daily routine work at your house. You can have a picture schedule, a written one, or one that you just know you have to do.
You have your map to your stream or streams and can navigate them all. You keep your map handy with an emergency kit close by.
I keep a written routine in a binder that I use daily with other picture routines to help out. I have put some out but most I have not. I made the
All Streams Change Over Time
Part of making a routine is being flexible for when changes happen. I was one in the Grand Canyon and a raft guide said that every storm can change the river. A minor rapid can become a major rapid with a large storm. Be ready for those changes. A lot of time you might not see those changes. If you have a change coming pull out your map and watch for where it changes.
You can also know that as your child ages the routine will change. Don’t expect that your routine will always be the same. The routine that works for a 4-year-old might not for the same 10-year-old. You might have a different stream size to navigate.
Keep things as basic as you can with changes. You might find things that help better keep your routine.
There might be seasonal changes to take in mind. We have problems with winter and I know that I have to add extra time in for winter changes.
I like to think that after a routine is set I can sometimes be an observer that is looking at the stream from a bridge. I can see the basic parts of the routine and see a few changes I can make for my map. I might also go and remove a few rocks to help the routine go better.
Don’t Let Others Change Your Routine
Often times we are not alone in your routines. I have several people that will tell me how to make our run the stream better. Or that we don’t always have to do our routine.
I have had many people tell me I can skip steps in our routine. I have said no. In fact, someone took a poll about who would let their child have ice cream for dinner and I was the only one to say no. It was a change to a routine that would have caused me nothing but problems in keeping our routine. Yes, I do change it but I make changes gradually over time. But I don’t do a change that would cause us problems or meltdowns.
Help others understand as best as you can that your routine is very important. Skipping part of the routine is not okay and that can cause problems. You are not just trying to make problems. We try to keep our routine no matter where we may do. That means that breakfast, lunch, and dinner are at set times. We don’t skip them and keep to the routine.
Do Your Best with Your Routine
Know that whatever routine you make is what is best for your family. Every routine that works for your family is important. What steps you take to make your routine work is good. Some routines go just during the day and some go all day. Every child might need a different routine. Life can be hard and know what is important to have in your routine.
One thing you don’t often hear about is the extra work that a special needs mom does to make the routine work or how little free time they get to take for themselves. And most times they don’t ask for help.
A routine that works for everyone is important. Keep your routine and be prepared for the small storms that will change it. Follow the stream with your map and know that you can navigate your stream with your map.
This is the second post with 12 other bloggers. You can read everyone’s posts about daily life below. There are so many different ways to look at daily life with special needs parents.
How to Homeschool your Child with Special Needs – Natural Beach Living
Day to Day Life Parenting a Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder – Every Star is Different
Life with Trauma ~ Living in the shadows – STEAM Powered Family
Reality Bites: Autism and Daily Life – My Home Truths
Why Special Needs Moms are Exhausted All the Time, But Will Never Ask for Help – Life Over C’s
A Day in the Life of a Special Needs Mom – The Chaos and The Clutter
A Day in the Life: A Blogging Mom and Her Special Needs Kids – B-Inspired Mama
Failing My Son and the Routines He Can’t Explain by This Outnumbered Mama
Everyday Accommodations & Strategies for Kids with Hyperlexia – And Next Comes L
The Importance of Visual Schedules for Non-Verbal Autistic Children – Kori at Home
Here is a ook at all the themes for the 12 months:
Check out my posts in this series:
Cassie – 3Dinosaurs.com