The keyring tool was developed by a member of staff at one of St Michael's residential centres to help parents remember what they need to do to look after their child. The picture keyring helps parents organise, plan and remember the care and chores that need to be done each day and is adaptable to the needs of the parent.
Laminated tabs, a simple visual and tactile prompt for the parent to complete a task, are put on the keyring. So parents who may struggle to manage household chores would be encouraged to think about which chores they want to compete each day and put the corresponding picture tab for this on their keyring. Once they complete the chore, they are encouraged to take the tab off they keyring and to put it on their routine chart so they can see what they've achieved.
It may also be used to help parents remember all the steps in childcare tasks such as making up bottles.
The keyring tool may be particularly useful for parents with learning needs and those with mental health issues who find focusing in the moment difficult.
Here we describe how the keyring was used for a family where the mother had a learning difficulty.
The introduction of the picture keyring and routine chart worked well for the mother and father. Each day in their daily review the parents selected the basic care tasks, household chores and activities they were going to do the next day and put the picture onto their keyring. As they completed each task the next day, it was taken off the keyring and placed onto the routine chart. The mother and father said that this aid helped them to remember what needed to be done each day and that it was good to see the keyring emptying and the routine chart becoming full with what they had managed to get done.