Step Down Routine We all look forward to fun stuff and aren’t quite as excited for the not-so-fun stuff. The same is true for our sensory kids. There are certain transitions that are high on the undesired sensory scale and will frequently cause a meltdown / explosive event. Some common challenging transitions include turning off TV / video games, brushing teeth, and going to bed and at night, these all happen within 10 minutes of each other. So, for many sensory families, the transition to bedtime is a very challenging time of day. One way to support this time of day is to add in some middle steps to soften the transition from the desired tasks to the undesired tasks. This “Step Down” approach will often help your sensory child manage the transition successfully. As always, when we have a plan in place, it helps us stay calm and connected also which ALWAYS helps our sensory kids stay more regulated.

Here’s a simple visual to help you build-in some middle steps in-between desired and undesired evening activities. A Step-Down Approach to Bedtime:

SUPPLIES:
* Picture Images (take your own pictures of your real life tasks, pictures from magazines, stock photos, or image software like Boardmaker – http://www.mayer-johnson.com/boardmaker-software/ , Picture Exchange Communication System – http://www.pecsusa.com/ , or Do 2 Learn (can sign-up for an annual membership on Do 2 Learn!) – http://www.do2learn.com/
* Laminating machine to laminate and protect routine.
For kids that might need to tap into the power of choice to help them feel more in control, you could put the routine on tags or index cards to allow the steps in the routine to be planned out and adjusted each night.
* 3-M Command Damage-Free Hooks to post routine in central area for easy access and as a consistent visual reminder.

Taking time to plan out and visually support a Step-Down Approach around just one challenging time of day can be a powerful support for your sensory child. A more positive transition to bed will often mean a more restful night for everyone. Simple changes for more peaceful nights ~

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