We all feel better when we know what to expect it seems. Yes, there are those of us who thrive on life's spontaneous moments, but anxiety is drastically reduced when we have a plan of expectations. Kids with behavior problems, especially special needs kids, tend to have a lot of anxiety. They also need structure so they know exactly where the boundaries are. I know Mr. B will ask what his "threshold" is when he's doing something. He wants the lines of structure so he knows what to expect and what he can and can't do.
A daily schedule is a great start. The first step is to chart what you do now, and when you do it. Take a couple of weeks and write down the time you do everything. You may be surprised by how scheduled you already are. Here's a sample of what a day looked like when we did this.
8am: Mom wakes up, gets dressed, and finishes up any housework I didn't get to the night before.
10am: Mr.B wakes up, gets dressed, has breakfast and day meds.
11am: Mr. B has morning time to do whatever
Noon: School work time.
3pm: Midday tidy up
3:30 running errands
5:30pm Mom starts planning dinner, Mr. B does his own thing
6:30pm: Family dinner
7pm: Everyone's quiet time
7:30pm Mr. B bath, night meds.
8Pm Family time
10pm Mr. B bed time
I thought that was a pretty good schedule, but it's too vague and not detailed enough. It's a good start! But it needs to be more detailed and precise to fully use it. Here's our current schedule, modified from that first try.
8am Mom wakes, and gets dressed
8:30am Mom tidies up anything remaining from the night before.
9:00am Mr. B wakes up, gets dressed
9:15 Mr. B takes meds
9:20 Mr. B has breakfast and watches TV
10:45: Mr. B does morning clean up for anything missed the night before.
11:00 am school work starts
1:20 Social Studies
1:45-outside free play
2:30 Midday clean up time
3:00 out and about time-grocery store, errands, etc. If needed.
4:30pm free time
5:30 Mom plans dinner
6:30 Family dinner
7:30pm Bath and night meds
8:00 Family time
10:pm Mr. B bedtime.
Do you see how the earlier part of the day, the part when we tend to run into the most issues, is broken down into very detailed increments? That way Mr. B knows EXACTLY what is what, and when he's to do each task. I've also alternated his school work so that he has a break in between each subject, and each subject alternates between favored subjects and dreaded subjects, with a longer break following the subjects he dislikes the most.
By scheduling his days, he's no longer anxious and prone to acting out because of anxiety over the unknown. He's also less likely to push boundaries because he knows where the boundaries are. Stay tuned, because I plan to show examples of visual reminders that we use that aid in the implementation of this schedule!