Consistency Over The Summer

School is out for the summer, but that does not mean routines need to be out, too! Routines can be hard to keep over this unstructured period of the year, but we are here to help! Visual schedules, sticker boards, and using “first, then” can help keep your routines in place and create consistency over the summer! Use these tips below to make your summer and the eventual transition back to school a breeze:

Visual Schedules

Visual schedules can be used for just about anything! You can use them to create consistency in everyday schedule or for a more difficult routine. Check out the video below for tips to make the visual schedule:

Once you have made the schedule, REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW the schedule with you child! The key to a successful schedule is repetition for your child in the beginning. Before you begin the schedule with your child, go over every step with your child daily. You can also ask them to repeat the schedule to you to check that they understand the steps. When transitioning between the activities on the schedule, use the schedule as a visual. The more work and use you put into the schedule in the beginning, the more independent your child will be in the long run! Check out this video for examples on how to review the schedule with your child:

Sticker Boards

Sticker boards are a great way to motivate your child to do what you want them to do, have good behavior throughout the day, or you can use it to get through some activities that are not preferred by your child. First, decide what you want your expectations to be. It can be as simple as, have listening ears and gentle hands, or it can be completing a specific task. Next, decide how often you are going to give a sticker (e.g., after each task completed or every 5 minutes). Lastly, figure out what your child is working for. Don’t forget to review the expectations with your child and to give praise every time they earn a new sticker! Check out the video for tips on making and using a sticker board:

First, Then

Using a clear contingency, or what we call “first, then,” is an easy and fast way to get your child to do what you want them to do before they are given a preferred item. This is a great tool to use, because you do not have to have any materials ready. When you want your child to complete a non-preferred activity, or when they are asking for a highly preferred item, say “First let’s do {the activity you want them to complete}, Then you can have {the item that your child wants}”. The more consistent you are using this language, the easier will be for your child to understand. If you are creative you can make a first, then board with chores on one side, and your child’s favorite toys or treats on the other side to earn. See the video below to learn more about using “First, Then” with your child:

If your child struggles with their behavior, consistency, or has an autism diagnosis – we can help! Contact Project Play Therapy’s ABA Team at to learn more about our ABA program. We are now accepting new clients with no waitlist!