Visual Schedules Can Benefit the Whole Family and the Whole Child
When working with children I am a HUGE fan of a group plan and using visual aids and schedules to help them anticipate what the sessions will look like, as well as my expectations and what they can expect! These tools can be SO beneficial in the home as well. Children benefit tremendously from structure (which we know!) When they have a routine that they are comfortable in they are typically more regulated and generally happier! BUT, life cannot always be structured exactly the same day in and day out. However, we can help children find structure in the unstructured.
- Adapted Calendars can help front load (give children information ahead of time). Front loading can help reduce anxiety, encourage discussions of plans/gaining information, boost pre-academic/planner skills, and encourage organizational skills!
- Create a family calendar using visual aids (especially for non-readers). I personally prefer actual photos of family members/places. I ordered this calendar on Amazon, and then adapted it with velcro and family photos!
- Each night make it a family routine to “update” your calendar. It could be as simple as School, home with Dad, Play, Homework, etc. Make it as involved or simple as what benefits your child. Maybe you have a child that struggles with keeping organized. Ex: place a backpack symbol on the calendar at the end of each day to signify they need to go through their backpack.
- If you have a child that needs to practice speech sounds for articulation homework put it on the calendar as 5 minutes of practice! You don’t need anymore than that.
- If you know there is going to be a big change in routine the next day go over that on the calendar with your child. Talk about where you’re going, what you will need, what you may be able to look forward to, maybe a special treat at the end! Make it your own!
***Remember your child may not be super willing to engage in this activity at first, but keep at it!! Establishing new routines can be hard, but this is one that will definitely benefit them in the long run! And maybe just maybe it will help you experience more calm and less meltdowns!