Ideas For Visual Schedules For Children

Ideas For Visual Schedules For Children

We all feel at ease if the goals or tasks for the day are laid out. We feel ecstatic after accomplishing them. The same applies to children. Laying out plans for the day, week, or even breaking down a task will put your child at ease. It  will avoid the hassle of reiterating the verbal commands given to them or worst go behind nagging them! This blog talks about how visual schedules will help you make your job easier.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic this was easier and was done for us already in the form of getting ready for school, school time, tuition time, playtime, etc., but being homebound we all have faced the lack of organized structure in our lives and the chaos. This is one of the reasons most parents would like the schools to re-open and have their kids go back to school again. Visual schedules are a way to bring back the organization in our lives and set your day up for success. This is not only applicable to children with special needs but also to typically developing children.

What is a visual schedule?

  • A Visual Schedule is a pictorial or written representation of routine, activities for the day, daily responsibilities or break down of a task. It is often tailor-made according to your children’s convince or ready-to-use printouts are also available. You can make it on chart paper. It can be temporary or laminated to make a permanent one.

Why do we need one or what are the uses of Visual schedules?

  • A visual schedule will lay out your expectations and make your children’s day more organized, similar to a to-do list we have of our day or while going grocery shopping.
  • It helps in managing the overall flow of the day, establishes routines, and breaking down a task or day into manageable parts.
  • As pointed out earlier it will reduce the anxiety or feeling of uncertainty in your child about the upcoming task. They will be more willing to try out an unfamiliar activity or task if mentioned before to them via visual schedule as soon as the day starts (gives them time to prepare themselves mentally) than if it is told to them suddenly without any warning.
  • It will help you introduce unfamiliar activities more easily and will give them a feeling of accomplishment after completion of the task.
  • Visual schedules helps with an easier transition from one task to another and reduces resistance.
  • This will also reduce problematic behavior such as non-cooperation for certain tasks or activities, tantrums related to extended study time, or if they request an extension of playtime.
  • They are permanent and children can refer back to them as compared to verbal commands which you will often have to reiterate.
  • It gives children a sense of responsibility, independence and builds confidence.
  • It can also help with language development and emerging reading skills.

How to make the visual schedule? Tips for the same

  • You can make visual schedules out of paper charts, cardboard, or magnetic boards. You can go as creative as possible for making it attractive and interesting for your child. Laminate them to make them permanent.
  • You can use real pictures, photographs, clip-arts or if your children can read and write then written words. You can paste them with glue, double tape, magnets, or Velcro. It can also include a time chart.
  • Paste them in a vertical manner or horizontal. You can include space beside the picture to mark a tick for completion of the task or you can also turn the picture over.
  • It should be simple and concise.
  • Involve your children while making one, this will give them a sense of control and independence over their routine and they are likely to be more cooperative to follow the same.
  • Be consistent with the pictures or written words used.
  • Put in a visible location which they cross all the time such as on the refrigerator or near the staircase, in their room or book.

How to use a visual schedule?

  • Once you make the schedule, explain you child about it. After completion of each task or activity put a tick or turn the picture over. You can also use stars or any other sticker to mark the achievement of the task. You can also use it as reinforcement and reward them for following it.

Different Types of Visual Schedules

  1. Daily Routine: divided by morning and night routine, you can write time as well. It can be for all age groups toddlers, school going and accordingly you can mention the tasks.
  2. Visual schedule for week which will look like this:
  3. You can lay down the daily responsibilities or chores for kids:
  4. To break down a Task:
  5. Written Visual Schedules for kids who can read and write:

Visual Schedules are a savior if you are looking for a hassle free day with your children. It is not only used for  children with special needs but with typically developing children as well.

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