I’ve made a real effort to be a lot more organised this year. I’m usually playing catch-up so it’s a strange feeling to be on top of things for once.
I can’t promise it will last forever but I do hope my organisational zeal hangs around for a while yet. Because it does make life so much easier for me and for my children.
If you are a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, organisational charts, routines, schedules and visuals are possibly already part of everyday life. They are the key to helping reduce daily anxiety as well as helping our kids clearly understand expectations of behaviour and the order in which to complete daily tasks.
My eldest two kids, aged 11 and 10, are both on the spectrum and over the years we have moved from simple visuals through to routines and schedules. As my eldest is off to high school next year I really want to ramp up our organisation and help him get used to the idea of school timetables and schedules.
Hence my renewed effort to be more organised this year!
Free printable routine charts
As a start, I have made a few charts for my kids to set out their daily routine, both morning and night. They have been working well so far so I wanted to share them with you too. You can download a pdf version of them below.
Download here: Morning Routine
Download here: Afternoon Evening Routine
Both routine charts were made in Microsoft Word from a free inbuilt template. All I did was change the images and the wording to personalise them for my needs.
It really was very simple to do.
Edited: Here’s are the screenshots of the templates I used for my checklists before I customised them – might give you an idea of how you can do the same if you find a template that looks promising:
Incidentally, I did the same thing for my household chore chart below. It was based on an existing Microsoft Excel template and came with most of the content already included. I just tweaked with the colours and changed the content to better suit my needs.
Household Chore Planner
Download here: House cleaning checklist Checklist
How to make your own printable charts
If you are like me, and do not have a natural flair for graphic design, the free templates available in all the Microsoft Office programs are a fantastic way to start off without too much stress.
You can usually find something suitable very easily by opening up the program and using the search function to find the relevant template options for you. It is really easy to customise colour, images and text plus they are very practical.
Here are examples of two Word templates available to use:
Here are examples of two Excel templates available to use:
The best part of utilising existing templates? Half the work is already done for you.
Where to find ready made and FREE printables right now
However, if you are looking for more beautiful and inspirational printables, there are many other options for you too. Here is a list of my favourite sites where you can grab some fantastic free printables for your kids.
Free Printables by Lisa Heenan (public Facebook group where Lisa has designed a free range of colourful printables to suit everyone)
The Organised Housewife (Kat is the queen of printables and of organisation!)
Free Printable Behaviour Charts
I Heart Organising
Families with Purpose
and, of course….
Don’t forget to also check out my Pinterest board full of routines, charts and schedules 🙂
How to best use printables with your kids
Just a note. ALL kids can benefit from visual cues, routines and schedules, not just kids on the autism spectrum. And we can also benefit from them too as harried parents trying to get them all out the door on time each morning!
Unfortunately, it’s not a case of printing the routine out and hoping the kids will follow it.
You will need to have a talk to your kids and explain why a routine is required and why you feel a routine chart is the best way to help cement it. Ask for their input and for their thoughts on what might work best for them.
You will need to have a run through several times to ensure the kids know what is expected of them and to iron out any issues with the order of tasks.
You will need to demonstrate and explain each step. If necessary, break down each step into an individual visual aid to encourage understanding.
You will need to be patient – it might be tough for all of you to stick to a routine and get everything right immediately.
You will need to stay strong even if you meet resistance – if you feel a routine is something your family needs then persevere. Don’t give up if things get tough.
You will need to regularly review the routine to ensure it’s still helping your family.
Remember, after a while it may not be necessary to still refer to a visual chart once the routine is bedded down. That is something that you will need to discuss as a family.
Do you use routine charts?
And would you be interested in having me share more printables and templates in future?
Would you like more support as a special needs parent?
Subscribe to Positive Special Needs Parenting to receive updates, advice and support from someone who's been there (and is still very much there!)
Thank you so much for sharing! We need more routine around here too.
You actually inspired this post Tegan with your comment on my routine over at Smarter Happier – so thank YOU!