Our Kindergartener is a visual learner. That is, he adjusts better, transitions better, focuses better, listens better, behaves better, overall-does better when he can visually see something laid out before him. A big one is a visual schedule. It really seems to help him at school and it’s something he’s used since preschool. He needs to not only know what is coming up next, but can better “accept” it when he can visually see it in front of him. He can sometimes roll with the punches, but it helps to give him a schedule with which to follow along, making transitioning from preferred to non-preferred activities a little easier. USUALLY.
So, seeing as they use one at school to help E know when it’s time to move on to the next task (and so he’s prepared for that task), I figured, why not have one for everyday life at home? After all, we certainly have our fair share of struggles when it comes to transitioning, on occasion (read: daily). What we needed was a “command center” of sorts, with a pin board for school fliers, fundraisers, activities, etc and a magnetic dry-erase calendar to help him learn the days of the week and what, exactly, was happening and expected of him on a daily basis. He’s only five, so I’m conscious of over-scheduling him, but just wanted to make it a little bit clearer for him, the way they do in school.
Shopping for the components to mount on the wall was the easy part. What I needed help with was the visual schedule. Surely, somebody out there has come up with a similar solution. There must be a template or a printable somewhere I can use.
I asked The Google for help.
The Google sent me to Pinterest. Makes sense.
There were lots of good ideas on there from all kinds of folks, ranging from teachers to therapists to ASD mommas. Only, I couldn’t find anything on Pinterest that I felt my guy would respond to; either the clip art wasn’t quite right, it only related to school activities or the activities were things he didn’t need a visual reminder to do (i.e., go potty–we gave up on forcing him to go before he left the house. That was a battle we were losing).
So, I set out to create one myself. First, I put together a daily schedule, including tasks and down time, that I knew he could follow. Made sure to include relevant magnets for the other little ones in the house, because, let’s face it, MOST tots learn visually. That, and you can’t let them feel left out. Finally, made magnets for major holidays, birthdays and celebrations that I know they anticipate. Case in point: a recent birthday party invitation for their cousins resulted in multiple requests per-day to go to said-party. Must. Go. NOW! (After making the calendar, I can just point to the “party” magnet on the appropriate date to remind them that it’s still a few days away.)
Is it perfect? No. Did it take a lot of trial and error? You betcha. But, it’s something I’ve found works for us…at least for now…and I’m willing to bet there are some other parents and kiddos out there that could benefit from something like this, or at least, from my version of “this.”
Comment or message me if you’d like me to send you a pdf version of the visual schedule tabs. Print on magnets, or laminate and velcro; whatever works in your world. Pay it forward and share. We all need all the help we can get!