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Routines can be fun

As we start to settle back into our normal lives, it’s a good time for us to reflect on the importance of routine for our young people. Whether this period of working from home completely disrupted our usual routine or we had to try extra hard to keep on our normal schedule, this experience has likely given us some perspective on how critical daily routines and rhythms are!


But let’s be honest – we’re sometimes met with unenthusiastic responses when we try and implement visual routines for our young people.


'Routines may be perceived as a way of regimenting or controlling a
young person’s day, rather than providing them with a sense of
predictability and safety.'


So how can we get young people on board?


Make it fun

Colours! Pictures! An exciting font! If someone is already on the fence about implementing a visual routine, making it interesting will increase their chances of engagement.

Break it up

Consider having routines for specific parts of the day (e.g. bedtime routine, before school) rather than one routine for the entire day. This will make it appear less overwhelming.


Make sure your routine is as unique as the young person it’s for. Think favourite colours, cartoons, maybe personalise it with some photos if they agree to it.


Engage the young person in the process in some way. Ask them what they would like to include, or even get them in on the design process if practical. This will allow them to feel some ownership over the final product.


Adding an element that the young person can interact with makes it more likely that they will actively use the routine. You could add a section where they check off finished tasks with an erasable marker, or attach individual tasks with Velcro to allow the young person to place and remove activities themselves. 

Trial and error

There is no one-size-fits-all template, and sometimes we’ll need to revise our designs if it isn’t the right fit for that young person. Take their feedback on board – what did they like about, or what would they like to change?


Katherine Abideen


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