“I tried Routine Charts and they didn’t work”  

So you tried using routine charts and they didn’t work or didn’t last. Perhaps the hope and enthusiasm at the start seemed just disappear once the novelty wore off? If you find yourself in this position, before you ditch the idea completely let’s take a moment to explore what to do when routine charts stop working.

I want you to think about your situation and ask yourself this question…

Have they stopped using the system because they are just getting ready without it and don’t need it?

If the answer is Yes, great. This means the morning routine has become a habit and your involvement will be minimal at the most. Congratulations.

BUT if the answer is No and what is happening now (or again) is that you are reminding them of all the things that they need to do – then we need to look a bit deeper and come up with a better plan.

The thing is if they’ve stopped using their chart and you have become the chart this is not an empowering situation for your child or you. If you are telling them each step and reminding them, I know from experience that your kids will be inclined to tune you out and you are likely to get frustrated. When we are frustrated we tend to step up the reminding to nagging and/or yelling.  So can begin a spiral of pursuit and retreat, where you feel the only way to get action is to become a Drill Sargent.

If this is your pattern, then a change of habit is needed, which will take time for both you and your child. So rather than saying, “Go put your shoes on” when you notice they are wandering the house with only 1 sock.

Be CONSISTENT by guiding them back to the chart with a…

The thing is our kids are not necessarily going to naturally look at their chart and follow it. The novelty factor at the start may help their autonomy but then it is likely they will fall back into old habits.  Especially when we take into consideration that our children live in the present and that have vastly different priorities to us… that that’s another topic for another day.

Now I have heard people say…

“What is the point in the chart if I have to nag them to use the chart”

Consider this, when you are guiding them back to the system, you’re encouraging growth, you’re encouraging strategies, you’re encouraging them to eventually be self-motivated.

You are teaching skills

Sure, telling your child every step of how to organise themselves in the morning/evening will eventually create a habit. But isn’t not giving them the tools and developing their independence. Whereas you guiding them back to the chart, that’s teaching them to use a system to support themselves rather than relying on others.

Many of us can’t be successful with our lists, diaries, planners and reminders. We all need systems and if your child is neurodiverse, there’s a good chance that they’re going to have to have some scaffolding, systems, and processes in place for the rest of their life.

What we want to encourage is for them to have a  mindset of working with their brain and working out…

“What do I need to do so can be successful?”

This is a valuable growth mindset for our children to adopt.  We don’t want our children to HAVE to rely on other people because ultimately we want our kids to feel empowered. We want them to rely on themselves, to feel capable and that is the difference between a visual routine system being in charge or you being in charge.

There are many positive ways to guide your child back to their chart, things like…

  • “What is next on your chart?”
  • “Great job getting dressed, what is the next thing you need to do?”
  • “I see you have completed 3 missions (tasks), how many more are left?”
  • “Looks like you have 5 more things on your chart, shall we time how long it takes? Ready, Set, Go!”
  • “Once you have done the next item on your chart, come to me for a high five”

Can you see how these statements are encouraging?

Can you imagine how you would feel to hear those statements with an air of curiosity and assumed capability, instead of

“Go do X”, “Why haven’t you done XXY” or “How many times do I have to tell you to do XYZ”

So, if you had a visual routine and you stopped using it then maybe you just need to make a few adjustments and try again because it is not just about now – it is about setting your child up for success in the future.

Ask yourself – Why did it stop working? 

  • Did everyone just forget about it?
  • Did it stop working because you weren’t encouraging about it anymore? Did YOUR enthusiasm lapse?
  • Did it stop working because it broke or fell off the wall or it wasn’t durable?

These were all the things that I considered when I designed my Mission Magnets system because I tried lots of charts beforehand, and lots of different ideas.

But if I am truly honest more often than not, it was me the dropped the ball before the kids. With this in mind, when I created the system, I wanted something easy for parents.

I wanted something simple, easy and durable.

So if you haven’t used my system, then check it out here. Or if have used it but found it worked for a little while and then your family stopped,  maybe it’s time to dust it off again?

Give it a fresh look with perhaps a deeper understanding of the bigger picture.

Lastly remember that guiding them back to the system is not a failure, it’s part of the process.

This will be particularly the case if your child is neurodiverse, especially with something like ADHD (click here to watch my child-friendly explanation of ADHD), where distraction, sustained attention, planning and prioritizing are all things that are lagging skills. Ultimately, it is still a better system than you telling them what to do step by step and it will create a more encouraging and calmer tone in your house.

Now as your reward for getting to the end of my post – If you want to freshen up your Magnets or maybe give this system of go use the code ‘CONSISTENT’ for a discount!