Every night there are things that need to be done. There’s dinner to be eaten, showers, brushing teeth, picking out clothing for the next day – yada yada. Pretty much it’s the same thing day in and day out. Even though it’s the same thing all the time, Katherine seems to struggle with it still. And even though I know it’s something that many children with the brain injury Katherine has struggle with, from time to time I struggle to keep my calm.

Yup, here I am admitting it. Sometimes I lose my cool. Perfect parent I’m not. I do know I’m not the only parent who has this problem however as one of the parents on a listserv I belong to was bemoaning this very issue today.

I know from years of disaster with these issues that for Katherine in any event, my sitting there harping on her only makes it worse. So what to do? The stuff has to get done and if she’s not in bed on time it only insures that we’re going to have problems in the morning as well.

Thankfully I got taught that visual cues are just the ticket for Katherine. Maybe it will work for you too.

Katherine has posters. One for the morning, one for the evening. The posters include not only words – but PICTURES. Each line has a piece of velcro where she can hang a smiley face when she completes one of the tasks. It gives her a solid reminder of things to do and the order in which to do them with a reward she just LOVES. Something about putting those happy faces on the poster board never ceases to bring her great joy.

These are super easy to make. Here’s your supply list:

  • Poster board -  we have a morning and an evening – you may want more, or less depending on how you need to break up your child’s day
  • Velcro – there’s adhesive backed velcro available at office supply stores or craft stores.
  • Pictures – cut them out of magazines, draw them with your child or better yet get your camera out and take pictures of your child’s bed, bathroom, toothbrush, whatever it is. This was always achieved the best result for us.
  • Self-Laminating sheets – You can get several pictures laminated per sheet. The happy faces are really the only thing that has to be laminated since they get taken on and off the poster daily.

Make sure you have enough smiley faces to cover the whole day – Katherine LOVES to leave the faces up on the morning all day so do not expect to reuse the smiley’s in the evening.

Basically it’s just a question of making a chart. Choose the items you need done. Make sure there is a picture to illustrate each action item and at the end of the line place a piece of velcro on the poster. The laminated smiley faces will be placed there as the tasks are completed.

schedule The Nightly Struggle

How do you get your child to complete daily tasks? Do you have a different idea? Share away!

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